Pavel Sapelka comments on the decision to extend preventive supervision over Mikalai Autukhovich

2015 2015-08-07T13:33:50+0300 2015-08-07T13:33:50+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Pavel Sapelka

Pavel Sapelka

August 6, Vaŭkavysk District Court reconsidered the case on the extension of preventive supervision over the former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich without his participation. Autukhovich himself is still in the local hospital after a hypertensive crisis.

The decision to extend preventive supervision over Mikalai Autukhovich has been commented by the lawyer Pavel Sapelka:

“I have repeatedly stated that the establishment of preventive supervision to those who have fully served their sentences does not correspond to the principles enshrined in the general part of the Criminal Code: the criminal liability is realized in the conviction by the use of the sentence imposed; with suspension of the sentence imposed; on probation under the sentence imposed; without sentencing. Thus, preventive supervision, providing significant restrictions on the rights, is assigned to persons in respect of whom the criminal liability has been fully used.

With regard to political prisoners, preventive supervision is used by the authorities in all its glory, some of the released prisoners have been convicted for violating its rules: some others left the capital for fear of unlawful conviction.

A year ago, when Mikalai was released from prison, his health problems urgently required skilled medical intervention. A full range of medical care could be provided in Minsk. However, in order to go there, even with the recommendation of a local doctor, he had to regularly come to the district police department: he was prohibited to go there for medical treatment, but then was allowed to... temporary change his place of residence to Minsk, which allowed him to undergo medical examination at the hospital.

Later on, the law enforcement officers tried to brutally fabricate charged of violations of the rules of currency transactions against the former political prisoner, but the product of their fantasy was too much even for the local court, and the case collapsed with a crash.

When the year, for which Mikalai Autukhovich was restricted in his rights, the police asked the court to extend the preventive supervision. As long as the Court and the Prosecutor's Office determined their attitude to the problem independently, their position was unequivocal: the behavior of the former political prisoner during the year did not give reasons to grant the petition of the police department.

However, after a few days all has changed dramatically, and a private protest of the acting prosecutor against the refusal to extend the preventive supervision was directed to Hrodna Regional Court.

What happened next, cannot be called anything other than a travesty of justice. First Autukhovich was denied the right to defense, having to attend the hearing of the panel of judges in the absence of his counsel. The following day Vaŭkavysk District Court considered the case again and extended the supervision, since it was obviously very important for those who are looking after Autukhovich after his release. The court wasn't even bothered with the absence of the defendant – in the morning of that day Mikalai Autukhovich was taken to hospital by an ambulance. Of course, many violations which were shamelessly committed by the judge will be enumerated in the appeal filed by Mikalai Autukhovich and his counsel. One could pour with quotations from the law, which was supposed to operate for the benefit of the citizen of Belarus. However, instead I would like to ask just one question: “Aren't you ashamed?”

Pavel Sapelka for