Hrodna Activists Convicted Under Falsified Protocols
Hrodna activists Viktar Sazonau and Eduard Dmukhouski have been fined by Svislach district court Br1 million 800 thousand each for the memorial rally dedicated to the insurgents of 1863, Radio Svaboda informs.
Viktar Sazonau’s case was the first case which was tried. He explained to the court that he really was in Svislach during the memorial rally dedicated to Kalinouski’s rebels. He said that he was late for the rally, and was present only when flowers to the monument of Kalinouski and Truhut, and could not go to Yakushouka, the country estate of the Kalinouskis.
He didn’t deny that he was holding a white-red-white flag in his hands, and immediately stated that he didn’t consider himself guilty.
However two witnesses, policemen, who were giving evidence, said that Sazonau was in Yakushouka, the Kalinouskis manor in Svislach district, as well. One of them even claimed he had not been in Svislach, however, he saw the activist in Yakushouls for sure. The third policeman, who was drawing a report against Sazonau, confessed to the judge that Sazonau hadn’t been in Yakushouka, and the report had been drawn up basing upon questioning of policemen and a video footage.
Sazonau even refused to ask questions to the third witness, referring to the fact that he had falsified the report.
After the video was watched, it turned out that Sazonau was not present in Yakushouka. But that didn’t influence the decision of the judge – a fine of 10 basic units, or Br1 million 800 thousand for participation in the unsanctioned rally.
After the verdict Viktar Sazonau stated that he pledged not guilty. He believed that at the order from their superiors the policemen had written protocols with false facts, and were not afraid to appear at the court with them:
– I think they had written that in such a negligent way as they do not see any violations in our actions as well. They have done that formally, proceeding from the fact that there had been an order to convict certain persons, to frighten people and prevent them from coming the next year.
The very same policemen witnessed against Eduard Dzmukhouski. It was also written in the report, drawn up against him, that he was in Yakushouka but after viewing the video this fact also was not confirmed. Dzmukhouski commented on that as follows:
– It was proven in the court that the report drawn up against me was fake. But this didn’t prevent the judge from carrying a case, from taking the testimony from the policemen despite the fact that their evidences were deliberately false, and that didn’t prevent the judge from fining me.
At the trial Dzmukhouski draw the witnessing policemen’s attention to the fact that they kept emphasizing that he was holding a white-red-white flag. Dzmukhouski asked if a white-red-white flag was forbidden. And he asked them to make reference to a regulatory document according to which the use of that flag was forbidden.
– Neither the policemen, nor the judge could answer my question, though the main violation filed against me was that I was holding a white-red-white flag in my hands and was standing near the monuments of Kalinouski and Truhut. The judge said that my question about the flag didn’t apply to the case under consideration, but later when asking the policeman a question, she said that that was a forbidden symbol.
Andrei Kotsia, a lawyer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, attended the hearing. He also noted that the court didn’t give a proper evaluation to the fake facts in the report and didn’t send the report for refinement.
– It’s a smoothly running system. In the court the policemen provide evidence of something that never happened, though a few minutes before that they gave a signed statement acknowledging liability for knowingly giving false evidence. But it is clear that they have nothing to fear, they incur no responsibility, and they will get away with everything. And the judge does not take into account that the facts are clearly fake.