“Spy case” is falling apart despite trial’s being secretive
The “spy case”, which KGB was so encouraged to lead against an operator of Navapolatsk’s Naftan Andrej Hajdukou, has come to an end, it seems. Another case will be there instead. Vakulchyk informed journalists about that on 19 June.
The court’s proceedings on the case of the civic activists are taking place in Viciebsk regional court in the secretive regime. Valer Vakulchyk does not see a big problem in that: “There is no doubt that everything will be impartial. No one will conceal anything, but state secrets”.
Speaking of the possible punishment for the defendant, Vakulchyk said: “This can only be decided by the court”. At the same time he noted, that “it was not a fact that it would be the article 356”.
The article 356 – state treason – of the violation of which Hajdukou is being accused, provides for the punishment of 7 to 15 years in prison. That Vakulchyk claimed possible change of the article means that it is highly possible that it will be changed, since it is directly Vakulchyk who guides the process. Let’s remember at least the fact that two weeks before the start of the process Vakulchyk said that it would he held in the secretive regime. In the end it turned out that way, although by all procedural norms the decision on the open or secretive character of a proceedings must be taken by a judge, and only after the start of the proceeding, and after a respective motion has been submitted by one of the parties, camarade.biz reports.
In regards to Vakulchyk’s statement a human rights activist Aleh Vouchak said that Hajdukou’s case had been fabricated so poorly that it fell apart even on a secretive trial:
“The main part of the proceeding has already passed. The judge listened to the prosecution, listened to some witnesses on the part of the prosecution, managed to familiarize herself with the case’s materials. And Vakulchyk did not mention its re-qualification by mere coincidence, because there is no corpus delicti of a sate treason. There is no espionage, and that is why the case will be re-qualified in accordance to other, softer articles”.
In his opinion, Hajdukou may be accused only of violating two similar articles of the Criminal Code:
“It could be either the part 2 of the article 361 of the Criminal Code (Calls on a foreign country for actions aimed at harming foreign security of the Republic of Belarus, its sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security and defense capability), or the article 369-1 (the discretization of the Republic of Belarus), which has never been used so far. The first one provides for a punishment of arrest for 6 months or the deprivation of freedom for up to 3 years. Many warnings were made in lines with the second article, but no one was tried. It provides for an arrest for up to six months or the deprivation of freedom for up to 2 years”.
The only this is that both of these article are clearly of political flavor. A businessman and politician Andrej Klimau was sentenced to two years in prison in August 2007 for supposed violation of the article 361. It is worth noting that it was the first criminal case filed for articles, published on the internet. And the article 369-1 is so vague and odious that human rights activists demand its abolition.
Vouchak explains Vakulchyk’s words that Hajdukou might see the accusation re-qualified by two factors. The first is a foreign-policy one. The issue of permitting the entrance to the European Union for the Minster of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Uladzimir Makej must be resolved on 24 June. The second is the wave of solidarity, which has risen in the society after the start of the proceeding:
“Human rights activists, media, simply not indifferent citizens ask the authorities uncomfortable questions. Why is the trial secretive? What Hajdukou is being tried for? What are the charges? And many others. The authorities cannot answer them, but they evaluate the public opinion. And seeing that this opinion is not in their favor they are trying to change the record. One cannot say that nothing depends on our solidarity. It does and it does a lot”.