Supreme Court increases sentence for Mikhail Zhamchuzhny
On October 23, Tatsiana Reviaka, a representative of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", attended the announcement of a decision taken following the consideration of an appeal by Mikhail Zhamchuzhny, founder of the human rights organization “Platform Innovation”.
The hearing at the Supreme Court was held behind closed doors, which was due to the presence of classified information in the case file. However, a representative of the Court earlier told human rights activists that representatives of the public and the media might attend the pronouncement of the decision.
As noted by Tatsiana Reviaka, today she was the only member of the public, who took advantage of this opportunity.
According to the human rights defender, the presiding Judge Mikhail Kashko, who read out the resolution part, said that the sentence for Mikhail Zhamchuzhny was increased by six months (6.5 years, while the prosecutor had requested 7 years), but did not mention any motivation, saying that the convict would later receive a written decision of the court.
“Mikhail Zhamchuzhny was in a cage, he was guarded by four police officers. I think he recognized me, because he said hello. He looks cheerful and fit. When we were in the courtroom waiting for the judge, he said that he was going to continue protecting prisoners’ rights,” said Tatsiana Reviaka.
As for the essence of today’s court session, according to Ms. Reviaka, it did not clear up the case.
“We still hope that we can get information about the essence of Mikhail Zhamchuzhny’s case, in order to find out whether the information that he was trying to obtain was of public interest and whether it dealt with the protection of prisoners’ rights,” she explained.
In the near future, the Human Rights Center "Viasna" intends to submit to the Supreme Court a request for information on the case, as the sentence has come into force.
The convict is still held in pre-trial prison No. 1 in Minsk.
On July 10, the Viciebsk Regional Court sentenced Mikhail Zhamchuzhny to 6 years in a penal colony. He was charged under several articles of the Criminal Code: Art. 376 (Part 1, 2), Art. 375 (Part 1), Art. 431 (Part 1, 2). This includes intentional disclosure of information constituting an official secret, illegal acquisition (production) of means for secretly obtaining information constituting an official secret, as well as bribery. Considering the closed nature of the trial, the HRC “Viasna” does not possess sufficient information to assess the criminal case.