Army major stands trial for refusal to take ideology exam

2013 2013-10-21T13:44:28+0300 2013-10-21T13:44:28+0300 en

Members of the Smarhon border squad had annual physical fitness and ideology tests in early September. Major Aliaksei Kastsiukou, an officer of the 3d department of the operational activity service, refused to take the tests, Belorusski Partizan reports.

His employment agreement expires on November 9. The army officer decided not to prolong it. The major appeared before the personnel review board, which allowed him to retire. Aliaksei Kastsiukou didn't refused to perform his professional duties, but ignored the ideology exam and received a reprimand from his commander.

It seemed that the retiring officer won't face other problems, but two weeks after the incident the commander of military unit 2044 lieutenant colonel Liauda opened a criminal case against major Kastsiukou. The major is accused of committing a military offence (part 1 of article 438 of the Criminal Code).

The case was sent to the Investigation Committee in Smarhon. The major was summoned for questioning several times. Kastsiukou's direct commander – head of the operational activity service major Strapko – gave evidence against Kastsiukou. Major Strapko was suspected of sexual harassment of an Astravets resident. Maryna Vinsla, 34, has been struggling for the second year against the Belarusian law-enforcement bodies. She was accused of hooliganism, though she claims major Strapko tried to rape her.

Major Strapko had several conflicts with major Kastsiukou. The latter criticised Strapko for cruel and almost illegal actions of border officers against the locals and Lithuanian nationals. Strapko can now take revenge on the brave major.

The intergarnison military prosecutor, Vasiliuk, arrived from Minsk to the military unit last week. There are rumours that major Kastsiukou will stand a show trial in the military unit. The Border Committee organises show punishments of army officers approximately once in two years. This time, they want to charge the service man with treason against the state, because the major touched on the sacred thing – the ideology exam. As a result, army commanders will get rid of the bold major and security officers and prosecutor will report about nipping the coup attempt in the bud. Absurd? Of course, but there were many absurd situations for the last few years that broke human lives.

Journalists contacted Aliaksei Kastsiukou, but he declines to give comments. He says he is not guilty and points at procedure violations in his criminal case. He says it is revenge for his retirement from the Border Committee and criticism of major Strapko.

Major Kastsiukou had two small children. His wife doesn't work looking after the children (the youngest kid is only 4 years old). There are few chances that Aliaksei Kastsiukou will be able to defend himself from the repressive machinery of the military prosecution agency especially when ideology is involved in the case.