Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

Oppositionist Autukhovich accused of organizing terroristic acts

A criminal case on suspicion of organizing a terroristic act was instigated against opposition entrepreneurs from Vaukavysk Mikalai Autukhovich.

Interfax-Zapad news agency learnt this from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus.

"The main preliminary investigation directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus instigated a criminal case against Mikalai Autukhovich and other persons under article 359 (Terroristic act) and article 13 (Preparation for a crime) of the Criminal Code of Belarus," the Ministry of Internal Affairs informed.

"It was established that Autukhovich was preparing for physical elimination of Uladzimir Sauchanka, chairman of the Hrodna region executive committee, in order to influence the decisions taken by the governmental bodies and to take revenge. Besides, it was found out that in summer and autumn 2005, Autukhovich and other persons were preparing an infringement on life of Vasily Kamenka, deputy minister of taxes and levies," the Ministry of Internal Affairs reports.

The Ministry noted that "in January 2009, the main organized crime department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs received information as a result of investigative activities that entrepreneur from Vaukavysk Autukhovich is involved in arsons of the property of officials in the Vaukavysk district, in particular, the former head of the Vaukavysk militia department and an officer of the taxation inspection in the Vaukavysk region."

"These facts were confirmed as a result of verification of the information received. On February 8, 2009, Autukhovich, Asipenka, and Lyavonau were detained and guarded to a pre-trial detention facility as a result of the investigative activities carried out in the criminal case over the facts of damage to and destruction of property of citizens committed in a dangerous way. The above mentioned persons were charged with committing crimes provided for by article 218 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (Intentional damage to or destruction of property of citizens),"
the Ministry of Internal Affairs informs.

"The preliminary investigation directorate drew attention to another person, trained to handle weapon and explosive agents. The investigative activities proved that he was involved in committing grave crimes using weapon and explosive agents in the Hrodna region," the Ministry said.

Alyaksandr Kamarouski, head of the organizing committee on creation of the Movement of War Veterans "Defenders of Motherland", commented to www.charter97.org on a new criminal case against Mikalai Autukhovich:

"What can I say on this matter? The person has unlawfully been kept in prison for six months while Belarus and the EU demand open investigation of the case. These accusations are nonsense. I know Autukhovich. When we were going to create an association of Afghan war veterans I asked if he had any dark spots. I understood we would be persecuted. He swore by his family and his children he didnt have. All terroristic acts are committed by those who accuse him. They are dotards and criminals, Im not afraid to say this. They brought one accusation, but it failed. Now they bring another accusation, but it will fail as well. Why then did Autukhovich have a three-month hunger strike? He knew he was right. He said: "take the case to court, have a trial." But they continue to hold him in prison and file new charges! A trial must be held. The trial must be open for the people to see how the case is breaking up! There mustnt be a trial they like behind close doors."

As the website www.charter97.org informed, Mikalai Autukhovich, kept in a pre-trial detention facility in Minsk, held a three-month protest hungry strike. He stopped the hunger strike only on July 16, doctors find his condition to be critical.

Mikalai Autukhovich and two activists of the entrepreneurs movement from Vaukavysk Yury Lyavonau and Uladzimir Asipenka were detained on February 8 with the approval of the prosecutor of the Hrodna region. On February 18, the three were charged under article 218 of the Criminal Code (intentional damage to or destruction of property of citizens).

Human rights activists consider the detained to be political prisoners drawing attention to the fact that Autukhovich and Lyavonau were convicted before and found prisoners of conscience by the international community.

Mikalai Autukhovich went on hunger strike demanding to send his case to court or change the measure of restraint from custody to release on own recognizance.

Term of detention of Mikalai Autukhovich was extended to August 8. Lyudmila Paremskaya, the director of the firm Nika-Trans 22222 where Autukhovich had worked before the arrest, and Afghan War veteran Kanstantsin Ulanau were arrested by officers of the main organized crime department last week. Paremskaya was freed some days later, Ulanau on July 16.

Human rights activists think Lyudmila Paremskaya and Kanstantsin Ulanau may have been arrested to make them gave evidence against Mikalai Autukhovich. No investigative activists have been carried out the Vaukavysk entrepreneurs since their arrest in February 2009. Independent observers think the investigation doesnt have proofs of guilt of Autukhovich, Lyavonau, and Asipenka.