Ex-political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich: The circus show is going on!

2015 2015-08-06T14:40:14+0300 2015-08-06T14:40:14+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/autuhovich-4.jpg
Mikalai Autukhovich. Photo by RFE/RL

Mikalai Autukhovich. Photo by RFE/RL

At 10.20 p.m. on August 5, police officers tried to give the businessman and former political prisoner a summons to appear in court on August 6. August 6 is the day when the period of supervision expires, Mikalai Autukhovich wrote on Facebook.

“The circus show goes on! Police officers tried to serve me with a summons at 10.20 p.m. today for tomorrow's trial. It's the second day in a row when I have been informed about trials that begin next morning. This is unprecedented. The first part of the show was held today in the regional court. It was held in accordance with the scenario I predicted earlier. The second part of the show called 'the Belarusian court is the fairest and most independent court' will continue at 11:30 a.m. on August 6 in the Vaŭkavysk district court. What an incredible speed, taking into account the fact that the hearing in the regional court ended at 4:00 p.m. I thought they wouldn't behave so silly ahead of the elections. Perhaps, scriptwriters are very serious people. They give me a lawyer for free at today's trial. I refused to use her services, but she remained in the courtroom. The lawyer couldn't answer in accordance with which legislative act she was present at the trial. She only said she had received a telephone call from the regional court and asked to attend the trial. It means that it was the idea of judges. But this is illegal, it's not their duty [to invite lawyers],” the former political prisoner said.

On August 5, the board of the Hrodna regional court heard the case on extending supervision for Mikalai Autukhovich. The trial was initially set for August 6, but was suddenly moved to an earlier date, and Autukhovich didn't have time to warn his lawyer. He asked the court to postpone the trial so that his lawyer could attend it. The board said the trial would resume at 2:00 p.m., and Autukhovich would receive a public defender if his lawyer didn't appear.

Mikalai Autukhvuch was arrested in October 2005 after he had begun to struggle for his business (a taxi company) and held long hunger strikes. He was sentenced to 3.5 years of imprisonment on charges with tax evasion.

Mikalai Autukhovich was among six political prisoners who were released as a result of strict sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.

Mikalai Autukhovich continued to struggle for his rights and expose corruption in authorities after the release. It became a ground for his second arrest on February 8, 2009, and a severe sentence.

Autukhovich didn't admit his guilt and said he was prosecuted for his anti-corruption activities.