Investigation into Siarhei Kavalenka’s criminal case is over

2010 2010-03-04T16:48:07+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Siarhei Kavalenka. Photo by RFE

Siarhei Kavalenka. Photo by RFE

On 3 March the Bureau of preliminary investigations of the Vitsebsk oblast police department informed Siarhei Kavalenka about the end of the investigation of the criminal case instigated against him for hanging out a white-red-white flag on the main New Year Tree of Vitsebsk. Now Kavalenka has a month for familiarization with the case materials. The case consists of three volumes that were composed in turn by three investigators – Tatsiana Turlayeva, Aksana Muravitskaya and Andrei Baranau.

The latter summoned Siarhi Kavalenka for interrogation and then gave him an opportunity to look at the materials of the case, some of which were quite surprising for Kavalenka. ‘All dwellers of multistoried house in Maskouski Avenue 9 were questioned. One of the women gave a rather good answer to the question whether she was bothered by the flag. She said that she was disturbed by screams and crash at the concert near the New Year Tree, not by the flag. However, the answers differed. Some people said the flag bothered them. May be, they did it because they were afraid of the policemen,’ commented Siarhei Kavalenka.

Siarhei Kavalenka hanged out the flag on 7 January, during a New Year concert in the Peramohi Square. At present there are two skating rinks on the square and music plays loudly all day, which irritates the local dwellers.  

The case also includes the materials of questioning of the participants of the concert who watched Kavalenka climbing up the New Year Tree, and the testimonies of the policemen who detained him when he climbed down. At present the policemen demand from Kavalenka 10 mln rubles in compensation for calling them fascists.

’May be, they think the opposition has paid me for hanging out the flat? I think that it is a usual banditry: to seize and beat somebody and then extort money,’ commented Mr. Kavalenka.

The police also investigated Siarhei’s wife, Alena Kavalenka.

Alena Kavalenka is surprised at the investigator’s question: after Siarhei’s detention their apartment was searched and the police could see well enough that there was no stitching machine there. During the search the policemen confiscated several copies of different independent editions.

Mrs. Kavalenka refused to answer other questions of the investigation referring to the right not to testify against her husband.

After learning the case Siarhei Kavalenka will have an opportunity to enter remarks and motions. Then the case will be passed to the procuracy that will review it and decided whether the case should be passed to the court or returned for improvement.

Under the current charges in violation of public order the activist faces up to six years of imprisonment.