Authorities extend investigation into ‘rioting case’
The Investigative Committee has prolonged the investigation of a criminal case involving 14 persons charged with ‘preparing riots’. The case was opened six months ago and will be underway for at least another half-year.
Earlier this week the authorities said that the investigation was assigned to a new team of investigators.
On September 12, Hanna Bakhtsina, lawyer of one of the defendants in the case, Miraslau Lazouski, was deprived of her license following a highly disputed certification procedure.
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.