Tax inspectors demand that Mikalai Autukhovich pay the insurance fees for the time of his imprisonment

2015 2015-03-10T16:30:52+0300 2015-03-10T16:30:52+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich in Minsk on July 16, 2014. Photo by

Former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich in Minsk on July 16, 2014. Photo by

Businessman and former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich is forced to pay compulsory insurance fees to the Social Protection Fund for the time that he was kept in prison. The tax inspectors claim that their actions are legal.

However, according to the verdict of July 7, 2006, when the entrepreneur was sentenced for 3.5 years in prison for the first time, Mr. Autukhovich was forbidden to do business for 5 years.

He was detained against of February 8, 2009 and in 2010 was sentenced to 5 years in jail under Article 295 part 3 - "Illegal actions with firearms, ammunition and explosives". He was also sentenced to two more months in prison with the explanation that he had allegedly committed the second crime without serving two remaining months of the previous prison term. Meanwhile, Vaukavysk officials state that Mikalai Autukhovich is not prohibited to do business and the 5-year term of prohibition to this kind of activity ended at the time when he was serving his prison term.
Additionally Autukhovich was sentenced for another 2 months of detention, motivated by the fact that the alleged new crime he committed, not who has served 2 months with the previous sentence.

However, paragraph 4 of Article 51 of the Criminal Code "Deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities" clearly states, that "the appointment of punishment as additional to the arrest, restriction of freedom, sending to a disciplinary military unit or deprivation of liberty, applies to all prisoners while serving the main sentence and moreover – for the period specified in the verdict".

The officials ignore this provision of the law, demanding the money from the entrepreneur.

In this case, they also refer to the provisions of Presidential Decree №87 from 21 February 2014 "On amendments and additions to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus on the state social insurance", which states that the compulsory insurance premiums are not paid by the entrepreneurs who officially ceased their activities and were excluded from the register of tax payers. Mikalai Autukhovich didn't have such an opportunity. The matter is that in 2006 he was additionally sentenced to a fine of more than 350 mln rubles and couldn't stop his business activity without paying this sum. He couldn't pay the fine either, being kept in prison.

Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich sees this absurd situation as a paradox:

"The situation is more than strange. The man could not engage in business activities according to the court verdict, but still needs to pay the money to the social fund for this period. When Mikalai was serving his prison term, he was physically unable either to close his business or to pay money to the Social Protection Fund.

Since the adoption of Presidential Decree №87 in February last year, many individual entrepreneurs who physically ceased their activities but haven't got rid of their status of individual entrepreneurs according to the law will have to pay the obligatory fees to the Social Protection Fund.