15 activists charged in ‘White Legion case’ plead not guilty in a statement

2017 2017-09-26T12:32:04+0300 2017-09-26T12:33:22+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/siza-valadarka-kpby.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Pre-trial prison No. 1 in Minsk. Photo: Dzmitry Lasko

Pre-trial prison No. 1 in Minsk. Photo: Dzmitry Lasko

Fifteen persons facing charges in so-called ‘White Legion case’ have issued a statement to plead not guilty, after the authorities extended the investigation for another six months.

“We had hoped that six months would be enough for the government bodies to investigate the allegations and see that there was no reason to open the case. The case of ‘preparing riots’ (Part 3, Article 293) was suspended. However, people are still suspected of ‘membership in an illegal armed group’ and the term of the investigation (Article 298) was prolonged on September 21,” says the statement as quoted by the BelaPAN news agency.

“All of us, people charged in the case, are currently free, released on recognizance and bound by a non-disclosure agreement, but the charges have not been dropped. An unpleasant surprise was the recent revocation of the license of Hanna Bakhtsina, lawyer of key defendant in the case Miraslau Lazouski, the person labeled by the investigation as the leader of the mythical ‘armed group’.

Obviously, such a decision in respect of one of the most famous lawyers in the country is politically motivated, designed in the spirit of revenge for the honest performance of her professional duties as a lawyer and a counsel. We hope that this practice will not be applied to other lawyers and the unfair decision against Hanna Bakhtsina will be canceled.

We continue to plead not guilty and are convinced that both the arrests and contrived criminal charges that constitute grounds for the ‘case of patriots’ are a purely political decision that has no factual basis and is only related to the inability of government agencies to cope with the tense political and social situation in the country in February and March 2017,” say the activists.

The statement has been signed by 15 persons: Aliaksei Abramau, Andrei Bialiauski, Viktar Danilau, Andrei Dundukou, Uladzimir Fiodarau, Ivan Kavalchuk, Andrei Komlik-Yamatsin, Miraslau Lazouski, Viktar Maroz, Dzmitry Novik, Tsimur Pashkevich, Uladzimir Rumiantsau, Siarhei Strybulski, Aliaksandr Yaudakha, and Aliaksandr Zimnitski.

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