Trial of Mikhail Zhamchuzhny starts behind closed doors
June 1 at 10 a.m., the trial of the organizers of the organization “Platform Innovation” Mikhail Zhamchuzhny has started behind the closed doors. The fact that the trial will be closed was known long ago, though there was almost no official information about the case, as Mr. Zhamchuzhny wrote about it in his letters to like-minded persons and human rights activists.
Viciebsk human rights activist Pavel Levinau came to the Viciebsk Regional Court before the trial, hoping that all interested persons would be first invited to the court hall and only then informed about the closed nature of the trial. However, it didn't happen in this case – the judge must have taken this decision while appointing the trial.
According to preliminary information, Mikhail Zhamchuzhny is charged under three articles of the Criminal Code – Article 376 (parts 1 & 2), Article 375, part 1 and Article 431 (parts 1 & 2) -
intentional disclosure of information containing official secret, illegal acquisition (manufacturing) of means for secret acquisition of information containing official secret, and bribery. The founder of "Platform Innovation" wrote about it in correspondence with his friends.
Viciebsk human rights activist Leanid Svetsik has also received a letter from Mikhail Zhamchuzhny:
"In his last letter, written on the eve of the trial, he says that Valiantsina Buyeva was appointed the judge on this case. Earlier, two other judges had been appointed, but refused from considering the case after studying its materials. Mr. Zhamchuzhny also writes about himself: "For the rest, all is well: the mood, health and creative plans. Of course, I will fight until the end, as I have what and who to fight for. It's good that I am alone here, it makes me stronger.”
As it is also known from the preliminary correspondence, the defendant refused to cooperate with the investigation, citing article 27 of the Constitution that allows citizens not to give up any evidence which can be used against them.
60-year-old Mikhail Zhamchuzhny is a former associate professor of Viciebsk Technological University, Ph.D., well-known academic researcher and inventor. He has repeatedly appeared in the radio program of Radio “Liberty” “Freedom in Prisons”, speaking about the difficulties and problems, as well as peculiarities of the life in prison.
This is already the second time Mr. Zhamchuzhny gets imprisoned. In 2008 he was sentenced to a prison term for alleged economic abuses at work. After his release from prison in 2012 he stated that the case had been fabricated and tried to appeal the sentence.
Mikhail Zhamchuzhny founded “Platform Innovation”, which deals with the rights of prisoners, together with Andrei Bandarenka. As he has no close relatives, the information about his arrest in Viciebsk reached the public circles with a delay.