Authorities end investigation in ‘White Legion case’
“The preliminary investigation of the case is completed. On November 27, a decision was taken to discontinue the criminal prosecution of all defendants in the so-called ‘White Legion case’. We believe that this has drawn a line under the case. The case file has been sent to the prosecutor for consideration and assessment of the legality of the decision. The defendants have begun to familiarize with the decision to dismiss the criminal case and the case file,” the Investigative Committee’s website said today.
Earlier, the KGB took a similar decision, dropping all charges against the activists. At the time when 14 defendants in the case remained in prison, the Investigative Committee of Belarus said it had taken over the case of creating an illegal armed formation, while the prosecution of the same persons under Part 3 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code was stopped.
Later, the suspects were released from prison on bail. in September, the Investigation of the case was extended. Recently, chairman of the Investigative Committee Ivan Naskevich promised to put an end to the case by late-fall.
So far, neither the defense lawyers involved in the case nor the accused have been notified of the decision to close the prosecution.
The criminal case under Part 3 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code was opened by the KGB ahead of the March 25 demonstration in Minsk. More than 30 people were held. Some of them were later released and prosecution against them was discontinued, while 16 persons involved were charged with additional charges under article 287 of the Criminal Code (‘membership in an illegal armed group’). At the time when the prisons held 14 persons, the Investigative Committee said it had taken over the case of ‘illegal armed formation’, while the prosecution of the same persons under Part 3 of Article 293 had been stopped by the KGB.
After reports of torture in the KGB jail, the country’s human rights organizations demanded the release of all persons arrested in the criminal case. On June 27-30, the 14 activists were released on own recognizance. The case, however, was not closed.