Human rights defenders demand transparency in Andrei Haidukou’s case
Minsk, February 19, 2013
Belarusian human rights organizations demand transparency and compliance with all the procedural guarantees in the case of Andrei Haidukou facing charges of spying.
It was reported by the relatives of Andrei Haidukou, who is held in the KGB jail on charges of committing crimes under Par. 1 of Art. 356 of the Criminal Code (high treason in the form of intelligence activities), that in the investigation of the criminal case the investigators committed gross violations of his rights. In particular, he has been repeatedly denied access to his lawyer and his relatives have been restricted in obtaining information on the place of detention of the accused.
It should be noted that the right of unimpeded confidential meetings with the lawyer, with no restrictions on their frequency and duration in time, is guaranteed to the citizens by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, as well as relevant provisions of applicable national law – the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus.
In 2011, in its concluding observations on the 4th periodic report of the Republic of Belarus, the UN Committee against Torture expressed grave concern over the extensive information that the detainees are often denied basic rights, including access to a lawyer and the right to contact with the family (CAT/C/SR.1053). The Committee against Torture recommended that the State both in law and in practice ensured that all detainees enjoyed free access to basic legal safeguards, including immediate access to a lawyer.
We are also very concerned about the recently widespread, and applied in practice to Andrei Haidukou, practice of impact on lawyers by demanding guarantees of non-disclosure of the investigation materials, which has been treated inappropriately broad. As a result, the lawyer loses the opportunity to provide the public with information about the nature of charges brought against his or her client, possible procedural violations involving the defendants’ rights, his or her health condition and other similar information. In our opinion, this approach limits the rights of persons in custody to legal protection, and deprives the public from the right to obtain information that affects public interests.
Given the nature of the charges brought against Andrei Haidukou, we call upon the competent organs of the Republic of Belarus during the criminal prosecution of Andrei Haidukou to provide adequate protection and realization of his rights in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus and the international obligations assumed by the country to its citizens and the international community. The persons responsible for such violations should be subjected to appropriate measures of responsibility.
We also call to publish information about the progress of the investigation and ensure the necessary publicity of the upcoming trial in the case.
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”