Mikhail Zhamchuzhny appeals sentence to Supreme Court
On August 1, political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny sent to the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court a supervisory appeal against the 6.5-year sentences he is serving in prison outside Barysaŭ, according to a letter received by the Human Rights Center "Viasna".
The appeal says that “when explaining the findings of my guilt in the verdict, the court referred to the results of “investigative activities”, which were carried out in the framework of an “ongoing operational experiment.” However, Art. 2 and 11 of the Law “On Investigative Activities” of 9 July 1999 (in force at the time of the investigative activities in relation to me) do not provide for the notion of an “ongoing operational experiment.”
Mikhail Zhamchuzhny points out that he was a victim of a repeated investigative experiment, while the criminal case was opened against him more than a year after the commission of acts that formed the basis for his conviction. “Thus, the law enforcement agencies artificially created the conditions that provoked me to commit similar acts in order to further provide evidence of the commission of more serious crimes,” says the prisoner.
In July 2015, Mikhail Zhamchuzhny was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment for allegedly committing numerous offences, including inciting the intentional disclosure of secret information, unlawful acquisition and selling of special technical means, and bribery. On October 23, the verdict was stiffened and the human rights activist was sentenced six and a half years in prison.
The charges stemmed from a series of episodes of 2013-2014, when Zhamchuzhny obtained official documents with information that, according to him, were of public interest: information on criminal cases opened against officials, a summary of the 2012 and 2013 incidents involving law enforcement officials, a special report on the sudden death of a citizen named Kudzelka in the temporary detention facility of the police department of the Viciebsk Regional Executive Committee, an Order of the Ministry of the Interior “On certain aspects of personnel work in the Interior Ministry”. These documents were handed over by Mikhail Zhamchuzhny to the human rights organization Platforma.
Belarusian human rights activists view Mikhail Zhamchuzhny as a political prisoner.
The appeal was prepared more than six months ago, but Zhamchuzhny’s applications for payment of court fees were rejected by the prison staff, who argued that the prisoner could only file an appeal one year after the sentencing. Following the publication of this information, a probe was launched against the employee, who denied the prisoner an opportunity to pay the court fee and send a supervisory appeal to the court. However, the officer was not penalized for the violation.