Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Trial of Andrey Haydukow to begin on June 12

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The trial of Andrey Haydukow, a young opposition activist charged with high treason, will begin in the Vitsyebsk Regional Court on June 12, a human rights organization called Vyasna announced Friday with reference to Mr. Haydukows family.

The trial will be chaired by Judge Halina Urbanovich, Vyasna reported.

Valery Vakulchyk, head of the Committee for State Security (KGB), told reporters on Thursday that the case would be heard behind closed doors.

The 23-year-old Haydukow, a fifth-year student at the chemical engineering and technology department of Polatsk State University and a fitter in charge of instrumentation at the Naftan oil refinery in Navapolatsk, was arrested in Vitsyebsk on November 8, 2012. He was taken to the KGB jail in Minsk and charged with spying.

KGB spokesman Alyaksandr Antanovich announced on November 13 that Mr. Haydukow had "gathered and passed political and economic information on the instructions of a foreign intelligence agency," and that he had been caught in the act of making a dead drop. An opposition group called European Belarus said in November 2012 that Mr. Haydukow had been arrested in connection with the distribution of a bulletin titled Charter97.

According to European Belarus, Mr. Haydukow brought a portion of the print run of the bulletin for distribution in the Vitsyebsk region and was arrested when he was handling it for storage.

Mr. Haydukow was an opposition candidates campaign aide and an observer in last years parliamentary elections.

The Criminal Codes Article 356, which penalizes high treason, provides for penalties ranging from up to 15 years in prison to the death sentence.

At the end of December, another young opposition activist, Ilya Bahdanaw, was given the status of a suspect in the Haydukow high treason case.