Ex-presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich still accused in 2010 ‘rioting case’
Former presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich has lost an appeal sent to the Prosecutor’s Office to challenge an earlier refusal to drop criminal charges in the December 19, 2010 post-election protest case.
On September 8, Mikhalevich returned to Belarus after four and a half years of emigration to the Czech Republic, where he received political asylum. He was detained by Belarusian border guards immediately after crossing the Lithuanian border. Mikhalevich was given in charge of the police, but released on bail a few hours later.
Back home, Mikhalevich immediately wrote to the Investigative Committee asking the officials to drop the criminal charges, which had been done earlier in relation of other defendants in the case. However, the petition was denied. An official notice signed by Dzmitry Kupka, investigator for particularly important cases of the Investigative Committee’s office in Minsk, said that the request was rejected “on the basis of Articles 36 and 137 of the Criminal Procedure Code”. The first gives the investigator the right to institute a criminal case or refuse to do so, as well as to terminate or suspend the preliminary investigation. The second article concerns the period for the consideration and resolution of petitions.
Mikhalevich appealed against the decision to the Prosecutor's Office of Minsk, but it forwarded the complaint back to the Investigative Committee asking to check the validity of the refusal. The Committee eventually confirmed the investigator’s decision. Thus, Ales Mikhalevich is still facing charges in the criminal case opened as a result of the post-election protest in Minsk on December 19, 2010.
Mikhalevich told BelaPAN that he intends to seek the closure of the criminal case. Another complaint will be submitted to the head of the Investigative Committee’s office in Minsk.
Ales Mikhalevich, together with the majority of other presidential candidates in the 2010 election, was arrested on the night of December 20. On February 19, 2011, he was released from the KGB remand prison on bail, and on February 28 he told reporters about torture reportedly used against him in jail.
In March 2011, Mikhalevich secretly left Belarus, saying that he faced ‘real physical violence’, and a few weeks later received political asylum in the Czech Republic. During his stay abroad, Mikhalevich was detained several times as a person on Interpol’s international wanted list. In July 2012, the politician was officially notified that he was removed from the Interpol database.