Trial of Ales Bialiatski, day 2 : questionning of witnesses

Human rights defender Barys Zvoskau is asked whether he has any bank accounts abroad. He said that he doesn’t have any at the moment and doesn’t remember if Bialiatski transferred any money for him. Zvoskau also reminds the court when his interrogation was conducted during the investigation. It is stated that 8,000 Euros was transferred for Barys Zvoskau. He denies it, and states that such information is untrue and fabricated.

The following witness is Andrei Paluda from Bialynichy. He says he knows Bialiatski and gives his testimony in Belarusian. He answers the bulk of the questions asked with one sentence: “I have the right not to testify against myself according to Article 27 of the Constitution”. However, Mr. Paluda confessed receiving from Bialiatski financial means for human rights activities and reporting to Bialiatski about the results. He says that it was neither his, nor Bialiatski’s profit. (report Nasha Niva).

Human rights defender Tatsiana Raviaka says she has known Ales Bialiatski for 20 years and worked with him in Maksim Bahdanovich museum and at the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.
She states that she didn’t receive any money in “Viasna”, but received financial means for human rights activities from Bialiatski. She refuses to tell the sums and to speak about foreign bank accounts. The prosecutor shows her a print-out with her surname. “The spelling of the surname differs from the spelling in my passport. Maybe it’s someone else?” assumes Tatsiana.

Human rights defender Viktar Sazonau from Hrodna also refers to Article 27 of the Constitution which gives the right not to testify against oneself. Sazonau says he didn’t receive any reward for his work in “Viasna”, just money for human rights activities. “Neither Bialiatski, nor I received any profit from this money”, says Mr. Sazonau.

Witness Aliaksei Kolchyn, an entrepreneur from Mahiliou, a member of the Mahiliou Human Rights Center, refuses to tell anything about foreign accounts, financial transfers and journeys abroad with Ales Bialitski. The prosecutor shows him Xerox copies of receipts signed by Kolchyn. The latter refuses to explain anything, referring to Article 27 of the Constitution. Bialiatski’s counsel declares a protest, saying that the way the receipts were acquired is unknown.

The following witness is Bialiatski’s wife, Natallia Pinchuk. She refuses to testify referring to her right not to do it.

Alena Laptsionak is also interrogated. At first the police refused to let her in the court hall, as she was wearing a T-shirt with the inscription “Freedom to Bialiatski!” Alena has known Bialiatski since 1987. “We have engaged in human rights activities together,” said Alena. At the end of her testimony she took of her blouse, under which there was the T-shirt. The public met this performance with applause.

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