Human rights activists: the authorities want to get Rubtsou isolated for the time of the presidential campaign
Human rights activists register the general deterioration of the situation of political prisoners in Belarus and an increased pressurization aimed at forcing them to concessions. This was stated in an commentary given by human rights activist Tatsiana Reviaka on the arrest of political prisoner Yury Rubtsou and the new criminal case against him.
Correspondent: How do human rights activists estimate the new criminal case against Yury Rubtsou? Do you think it is political?
Tatsiana Reviaka: We amalgamate all cases against Rubtsou in one. His arbitrary detention in April 2014, the trial which resulted in the charges of insulting the judge, the sentence for insulting the judge (after which Mr. Rubtsou was recognized a political prisoner – ed.)and what is now happening to him are the links of one chain for us. For us it is one and the same case, and our position on it is clear: Yury Rubtsou became a victim of the offense which we call “arbitrary detention”. What has been happening with him after it is consequences.
C: The investigative Committee insists that Rubtsou four times refused to get employed to proposed vacancies, which constitutes the crime called “evasion from serving the punishment". Is there really any corpus delicti?
T.R.: We know that Rubtsou didn't refuse from work at all. He refused from the work that was offered to me because the wage was too law. He demanded an average wage, voiced by the country's government, asking to provide him with a job which would correspond to this average wage. That is, once again, he didn't refuse to work at all.
He didn't sign the documents according to which he was issued with disciplinary penalties for refusing from work. These documents now serve as the basis for the accusing him of evolving from serving his punishment. However, according to our information Mr. Rubtsou himself didn't even know that such disciplinary penalties were issued to him. That is, he didn't sign and didn't register them, neither did we. We could only guess that such penalties could be issued to him, but we haven't had precise information until lately.
C.: In your opinion, what for do the authorities may need a new criminal case against Rubtsou?
T.R.: Were it not for the preceding criminal case, brought up against Mikalai Dziadok for violating the regime of serving the penalty (Article 411 of the Criminal Code) could possibly say that it could be connected to the character of Mr. Rubtsou, that he is such a spontaneous person, rebel, dissident who refuses from everything. However, now I think of it as a of a trend. For instance, we believe that Mikalai Statkevich is pressurized with the aim to make him write a clemensy to petition. With respect to Mikalai Dziadok the aim is not to release him until the election. The situation with Yury Rubtsou is quite similar: they need to silence him for the period of the presidential campaign, because in the conditions in which he was serving his sentenced of personal restraint he could phone and express his opinion about many things. Now he can be deprived of this opportunity. I think that the tightening of the grip on political prisoners is absolutely clear.
C.: What can you say about the tendency of the overall deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus in this respect?
T.R.: What concerns political prisoners we register a deterioration of the attitude to political prisoners, toughening the prison regime for them, an increase in pressure, the imposition of new penalties and restrictions. Before that, there was a certain period of time which was quieter, although not much better. But now we feel an escalation of the situation with political prisoners. Perhaps this is made to squeeze them to the endpoint, break them morally and extort some concessions.
It is difficult for us to evaluate this topic while the topic of political prisoners actually falls out of the dialogue between the international community and the Belarusian authorities. Earlier, this topic was on its edge, being posed as the precondition for restoring the dialogue. Now this precondition disappeared and the authorities can do with them anything which corresponds to their present political needs.