Co-founder of Platform Innovation NGO Mikhail Zhamchuzhny in punishment cell, prepares appeal to Supreme Court
Mikhail Zhamchuzhny, a co-founder of the Platform Innovation human rights NGO, was sentenced by the Viciebsk Regional Court to six years in a penal colony. He was found guilty of committing crimes under Art. 376 (Parts 1 and 2), Part 5 of Art. 16, Art. 375 (Part 1) and Art. 431 (Parts 1 and 2): illegal purchase of intelligence equipment, deliberate disclosure of information constituting official secrets, bribery, and abetting a crime. The prosecutor asked for a sentence of seven years in prison, while the court’s verdict was six years. The sentence is aggravated by a previous conviction awarded in 2007 when Mikhail was deprived of the right to hold positions related to organizational and administrative activities for a period of 2 years and 8 months. After the first verdict on charges of theft through abuse of power, he was prison between 2007 and 2012.
He was arrested gain in August 2014. The fact was not immediately known. This was reported by the father of Andrei Bandarenka, former leader of Platform Innovation, who is also in prison.
It is known that at the moment Mikhail Zhamchuzhny is preparing an appeal to the Supreme Court, while he is held in solitary confinement in the Viciebsk-based pre-trial prison No. 2. He was confined for 25 days, and it is not for the first time. According to Mikhail Zhamchuzhny, he feels calm there, as he has the ability to be alone and focus on his case. The official reason for the punishment is sleeping in the daytime. However, solitary confinement is not just a forced isolation, it is also a restriction on correspondence. Therefore, friends and associates have not receive letters from him for a certain time already.
Human rights activists stress that the circumstances of Mikhail Zhamchuzhny’s prosecution are still unclear. He himself says nothing in his letters that would have clarified the essence of the case, referring to the fact that in this case they will not pass the prison censorship. The lawyer, in turn, cannot disclose the circumstances of the case under the threat of criminal prosecution.