Trial of Ales Bialiatski: day 3

2011 2011-11-04T14:06:10+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Ales Bialiatski at trial. Photo by RFE

Ales Bialiatski at trial. Photo by RFE

4 November is the third day of the court hearings on the criminal case against Ales Bialiatski, Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

During the first day of the trial prosecutor Saikouski read the charges. The court started questioning the defendant.

On 3 November judge Siarhei Bandarenka questioned the witnesses.

Before the beginning of the trial the guards checked whether the opposition activists who wanted to attend the trial didn’t wear T-shirts with portraits of Ales Bialiatski. Some of them were expelled from the court hall till the end of the trial.

The court continued studying the case materials. One of them is the translation of a letter from the Lithuanian Nord Bank, sent to the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania on 7 March 2011. The sums, transferred to Bialiatski’s account by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee with the inscription “Viasna” in the “destination” graph, are announced.

The prosecutor found in the case the court decision concerning the liquidation of “Viasna”, written in Belarusian, and asked the translator to translate it and read in Russian. There are also lists of members of the regional branches of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in the case.

After the first volume of the case, including bank records, was read, the defense voiced its protests. In particular, counsel Zmitser Layeuski stated that the accusation hadn’t announced the sum which was considered as Bialiatski’s profit. Moreover, the fact that Bialiatski took money from his account doesn’t mean that it was his profit.

The second volume of the case is studied, including the ruling on instigation of the criminal case against Bialiatski, information of the Financial Investigations Department about the tax check-up concerning Bialiatski, copies of his income declarations, rulings and other documents.

The counsel voices protest against the arrest of some assets, including the car and the summer residence, as they are co-owned by Ales and his wife Natallia.

According to the counsel, the investigation didn’t implement the errand to find the property status of Ales Bialiatski and find who transferred money to his account, what for the money was used and whether Bialiatski was bringing the money to Belarus from abroad. The defense is interested in the implementation of these errands (RFE/RL).

The fourth volume of the case is studied. The prosecutor read aloud one of the 816 personal guarantees for Ales Bialiatski, which were attached to the case together with the refusal of the investigation to release Ales Bialiatski. The personal guarantees constitute two volumes of the case.

The counsel states that in August he made a solicitation to the investigation to find who had transferred money to Ales Bialiatski’s account and to apply to these institutions with the request to tell the purpose of the transfers. However, the investigation rejected this motion. (RFE/RL)

All volumes of the criminal case have been considered. The court announced a break till 3 p.m.

The documents which had been provided by the border control committee and the tax inspection on solicitation of the defense were brought to court. The prosecutor continues reading the 6th volume of the case.

The judge asked Bialiatski whether he recognized the charges. Bialiatski says he doesn’t. Bialiatski’s counsel specifies some information of the case materials.

He reads the text of his solicitation where it is stated that the guilty of his client is not proven. To his mind, even the documents which were received from the Lithuanian and the Polish banks witness that financial means from Bialiatski’s account were used not for the needs of “Viasna”, not for his personal ones.

The counsel also draws the attention of the judge to the absence of some important elements in the case. In particular, he says that the source of some information is a “DVD disk” received as a result of investigative action. However, the DVD wasn’t attached to the case, as a result of which the defense had no opportunity to study its content. Another peculiarity is information from “anonymous sources”, which is contradictory and even senseless. (ERB)

He also points at the presence of non-translated and improperly composed documents among the case materials. Some of them don’t correspond to the Criminal Process Code. The defense continues pointing at irregularities and violations in the case materials. In particular, the documents that were received by the investigation from Poland are not sealed or signed by any bank officers. “Such documents cannot be taken into consideration. They are not evidence,” said the lawyer. (ERB)

The prosecutor stated that the documents which were requested by court from the Customs Committee would be ready on Thursday. The judge announced a break in the court hearings till 10 November.

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