Customs officials to drop charges against human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka
On October 26, human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka wrote to the Homieĺ customs department to remind about the expiration of a period for administrative prosecution in a case opened against him on charges of resisting a lawful request of an official. Two months ago, on August 25, customs officers detained the human rights activist on a train going from Vilnius to Minsk. Leanid Sudalenka was dragged out and searched without a valid reason. As a result, he was charged under Article 23.4 of the Administrative Code. However, the period of two months provided by the legislation for the imposition of administrative sanctions expired on October 25.
“My position is that the requirement to undergo a personal search was illegal because Article 117 of the Customs Code says that a personal search is an exceptional measure of customs control, and it is used in cases where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the person hides forbidden items. However, the customs officers did not offer to declare anything,” said the human rights activist.
Leanid Sudalenka has also filed a lawsuit to recover 999 mln rubles in damages for groundless detention, the use of physical force and a personal search. The human rights defender believes that the numerous obstacles that prevent him from safely returning home can be viewed as revenge for his active citizenship and human rights activities.