Yaroshuk: I have not even a thought, that a criminal case may be initiated
On February 14 Alexander Yaroshuk was summoned to the Prosecutor General's Office to furnish explanations. In the statements of the BKDP's (Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions) leader on the possibility of a boycott of Belarusian goods to the EU in connection with the violation of trade unions rights, the General Prosecutor's Office saw signs of a crime. Moreover, if the case goes to court, Yarashuk can face from 2 to 5 years imprisonment.
In an interview to UDF.BY the leader of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions told what he was talking about with a prosecutor for three hours, he explained how realistic is the initiation of a criminal case against him and commented on the current situation in the "Granit" enterprise.
- Alexander, what kind of explanations the Prosecutor General's Office required from you?
- Prosecutor General's Office claims that my statements contain calls to the introduction against our country the economic sanctions. I've tried to explain that the words were taken out of context. I was talking about warnings to the Belarusian authorities that are coming from international trade union community. This is the public itself can take any decisions without regard to calls from anyone else. They are well aware of the situation surrounding the Belarusian trade union, of the situation around the "Granit".
- That is, the authorities misinterpreted your words?
- During the conversation with a prosecutor, I argued that I didn't commit any illegal activities. Moreover, I said, that illegal actions were evident in the actions of individual officials. For example, in the words of Sumar, Chairman of the Brest Regional Executive Committee, who came to the "Granit" and said: "Here will be no independent trade union!". Why don't take they any explanations from him about this? After all, the right to form trade unions is guaranteed to the citizens by Belarus Constitution, by the laws of our country, b the ILO conventions (International Labour Organization - udf.by), which our country has ratified. It turns out, that Mr. Sumar has placed himself above the Constitution? On what basis he has shown such a frank legal nihilism against the Belarusian legislation, and he gets away with it?
- What do you think, are they still going to initiate a criminal case against you?
- I've manged to state my position with enough arguments. Moreover, as I feel, prosecutors have heard my argumentation, at least, until they will have received any other instructions. They were agree with me in many respects.
Now, I have not even a thought, that a criminal case may be initiated. The world is well aware of the situation with the trade unions in Belarus. In addition, I am not only the head of Independent Trade Unions of Belarus, I am the vice-president of the International Confederation of Trade Unions. Therefore, they shouldn't talk about the possible consequences of bringing me to the criminal liability for the actions, which I didn't commit.
- The whole situation was largely provoked by the fact, the authorities refused to register an independent union at the "Granit" enterprise and put pressure on people who walked out of the official trade union. How do matters stand now at this enterprise?
The situation at the "Granit" enterprise on one side develops according to the usual Belarusian scenario. In a sense that anyone who dares to express dissent in our country suffers from enormous pressure. They're now trying to dismiss Oleg Stahaevich, the leader of the independent trade union in the "Granit". Workers are threatened with all imaginable troubles. Every day, in the director's office KGB agents sit, who build graphs of how many people should be forced to walk out of the independent trade union.
On the other hand, I declare that we won't leave "Granite" under any circumstances. And I'm not even questioning, that we will achieve legal recognition of the independent trade union. For the first time in the country's modern history, young men not only escaped from the FTUB's "ghetto" (Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus - udf.by), but also they are determined to pursue the case by registering a new trade union. These guys have established themselves as citizens, as they demonstrated determination and confidence in their actions, which Belarusians lack of.