Deputy Prosecutor General: Sentence to Iryna Khalip does not contain direct prohibition on going abroad

2013 2013-01-24T18:27:48+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

“According to the court decision, there are no obstacles to travelling abroad. She should contact the corrections office of Minsk's Partyzanski district police department. She is under supervision of this agency. Khalip should file there an application. The office chief will examine it and make his decision,” deputy prosecutor general of Belarus Alyaksei Stuk told BelaPAN news agency.

Journalist Iryna Khalip, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov who received political asylum in the UK, was found guilty of participating in mass disorders after the elections on December 19, 2010. In May 2011, she was given  a two-year suspended sentence. She cannot leave Minsk. She must visit the police department for checks every week and must be at home after 10 p.m. The probation period expires on July 17. Khalip's case will be heared in the court again to decide if she should be released, sent to a penal colony or if a probation period should be extended.

Lukashenka said several times (in an interview with British journalists on October 9, 2012 and at a press conference on January 15, 2013) that Khalip could travel abroad and promised to give her such an opportunity.

The dictator said on January 15: “If you want to take her anywhere, go to the prosecutor general, take her and go. It's in my power. You can take her away. But she will choose to remain here.” Lukashenka said: “Iryna is not a silly woman. She understands that she is a victim of the regime today, but no one will remember her tomorrow. That's why she hasn't left the country.”

The deputy prosecutor general says Khalip's punishment is called “other kinds of criminal responsibility”. “It is her status,” he said. According to Alyaksei Stuk, the prosecutor general's office doesn't have any information regarding changes in her status after the press conference on January 15.

The deputy prosecutor general also turned attention to the fact that Khalip was not released under her own recognizance, but the court decision imposes certain restrictions on her.

The website asked Iryna Khalip to comment on Stuk's statement.

“Lying is normal for officials of all ranks: from Lukashenka to a district prosecutor. It's funny to hear these clumsy attempts to break the web of Lukashenka's lies. Besides the ban on leaving the country, the court decision has another remarkable clause: I cannot go out after 10 p.m. This measure forbids me to go out of the town.

The only time I was allowed to leave Minsk for the last 18 moths was when I visited a penal colony in Navapolatsk for a long-term meeting with my husband. I was warned in the corrections office that there were no guarantees that my trip would be permitted. I was given a route schedule, similar to those that drivers have. I had to check on the route. Visiting Vitebsk instead of the penal colony in Navapolatsk would have been considered a violation. I remember perfectly that when I was registered in the corrections office of the Partyzanski district police department, I asked an inspector to explain the details of this factual house arrest, but he said to me honestly that it was legal nonsense. Belarusian officials are trying to hide this nonsense today,” the journalist says.