Maksim Viniarski: “If we, not the police, gave false testimony in court, let them punish us”
Opposition activists Maksim Viniarski and Leanid Kulakou, who spoke as witnesses at the November 4 administrative trial of a Homel resident Yury Rubtsou, sent a petition to the court, asking to either punish policemen for perjury or the activists themselves.
On November 3, an opposition activist Yury Rubtsou was detained during an allowed traditional procession to mark the Dziazy holiday for wearing a T-shirt with the inscription “Lukashenka, Leave!” He was charged with disobeying police officers under Art. 23.4 of the Administrative Code and punished with an administrative arrest for the period of 3 days.
The detention was witnessed by Leanid Kulakou and Maksim Viniarski, as well as a journalist of the BelaPAN news agency Andrei Shraibman. They then testified in the Court of Minsk’s Maskouski district, but Judge Dzmitry Pauliuchenka did not take into account their testimonies, saying that they did not coincide with that of the police officers.
Maksim Viniarski expressed his indignation in such a dismissive attitude of the court to his own testimony in the following way:
“I witnessed how on November 4 disguised policemen constantly followed a man wearing a T-shirt “Lukashenka, Leave!” I also witnessed his detention at the end of the rally, and even tried to find out the reason for Rubtsou’s detention. However, I heard only one word: “Follow me.” Rubtsou was then pushed into a blue Volkswagen minivan by four policemen without badges.
At the trial, Judge Dzmitry Pauliuchenka believed two riot policemen, Pilipeika and Herman, and said our testimony was invalid, that is false. I am outraged by the cynical attitude of judges to the testimony of witnesses and I am ready to defend my case further on. Now let the court either deal with the false testimony by the police and punish them, or let them prosecute us, because otherwise it were us who gave false testimony. Given that I was a direct witness to the detention of Y. Rubtsou, I believe that the testimony of the police officers is false and therefore constitute an offense under Art. 24.4 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus. Therefore, in case of failure to institute administrative proceedings against the police officers I will ask the court to start proceedings against me in connection with the assessment of my testimony as invalid. It is impossible to demonstrate permissiveness in court!”
The other witness Leanid Kulakou completely agrees with Maksim Viniarski. He is also angered by the actions of the judge:
“I believe that with such an attitude to the testimony of witnesses Judge Pauliuchenka insulted me, ignoring my evidence and truthful testimony. I can swear to their veracity. So let the policemen swear by the health of the President in court.”
“It turns out that the courts are working on instructions from above and until there is no liability for false testimony of police witnesses, we will not have a normal administration of justice. Today, people do not believe the Belarusian judiciary. It's not just about Rubtsou’s case. We protect all those who were illegally charged and convicted,” said Leanid Kulakou.