Human rights defenders think the accused of "high treason", Andrei Haidukou, may be tortured

2013 2013-01-07T16:03:48+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Andrei Haidukou

Andrei Haidukou

Such suspicion arises from the repeated non-admission of the counsel to the pre-trial prison of the KGB, where the Navapolatsk democratic activist Andrei Haidukou is currently kept. Human rights defenders submitted an appropriate complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on this occasion.

The authors of the appeal, "Human Rights Defenders against Torture", ask the Special Rapporteur to require explanations from the Belarusian authorities concerning the non-admission of the lawyer to Mr. Haidukou, who has been kept in the pre-trial prison of the KGB since the end of December 2012.

The counsel has made two attempts to meet with Andrei Haidukou, but was twice refused with reference to absence of free rooms for meetings.

According to the Vitsebsk human rights defender Pavel Levinau, there are all grounds to believe that tortures are used towards Andrei Haidukou:

"The candidates to the position of President of the Republic of Belarus and members of their electoral headquarters – Andrei Sannikau, Aliaksandr Atroshchankau, Mikalai Statkevich, Uladzimir Niakliayeu, Aliaksei Mikhalevich, Uladzimir Kobets and others alleged being tortured at the pre-trial prison of the KGB in the analogical circumstances – when lawyers weren't allowed to meet with them. Uladzislau Kavaliou, who was executed by shooting for relation to the explosion in the metro, also stated that he had been tortured. However, the authorities did not hold proper check-ups on such statements and no duty officials were punished. That's why we, human rights defenders, cannot wait and hope for honesty of the duty officials of the KGB pre-trial prison, because it's well-known that impunity gives rise to lawlessness."

Andrei Haidukou has been kept in custody for two months already: he was detained on 8 November 2012 in Vitsebsk, allegedly during making a hiding-place with information which could be interesting for foreign intelligence services. This seems to be the only official information about the 23-year-old operator of the Navapolatsk "Naftan" enterprise, detained on suspicion in committing a crime under Article 356 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, "high treason".

For some unknown reasons the activist was transferred to the pre-trial prison in Vitsebsk for a month, and then was returned to Minsk. At the end of December another suspect was added to the "high treason" case – a Navapolatsk activist of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy, Illia Bahdanau. He was first summonsed for an interrogation as a witness in Haidukou's case. However, during the interrogation the Vitsebsk investigator of the KGB Aleh Barysevich stated that there were considerable discrepancies in the testimonies of Haidukou and Bahdanau, and therefore was given the status of a suspect in the case. However, he is still at large.