The Minsk City Court has upheld the sentence for Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski.
The Minsk City Court dismissed a motion to change punishment for Ales Bialiatski and a motion of defenders asking to summon the prisoner for the trial.
Dzmitry Layeuski, the lawyer of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski, thinks the information about his client’s accounts in foreign banks was obtained unlawfully.
He noted that the first instance court grounded its decision on the data from Lithuanian and Polish banks that were received in violation of the international legislation. Besides, the documents from banks did not contain signatures or seals of bank executive officials and thus cannot be used as evidence. The lawyer turned attention of the court to the fact that original documents had not been seized from banks.
The defender also stressed the court of the first instance did not have satisfactory proofs that Bialiatski used the money at his own discretion.
Layeuski added that most of the arrested by court property was bought by Bialiatski during marriage, so it is considered common property.
The lawyer stressed the court referred to a letter of the Ministry of Justice of Belarus to prove Bialiatski’s guilt, but the duration of the letter had expired.
The lawyer emphasized that the court had no right to adjust the sum of financial damage to the inflation rate.
Prosecutor Kiryl Chubkavets said that the Pershamaiski district court had enough evidence for deliver a verdict in the case.
On November 24, 2011, the Pershamaiski district court of Minsk sentenced Ales Bialiatski, the head of Human Right Centre Viasna et FIDH vice-president, to 4.5 years in a medium security penal colony and confiscation of property for alleged tax evasion on an especially large scale (part 2 of article 243 of the Criminal Code).
Bialiatski must pay compensation of 721mn Belarusian rubles (about $86,000) and 36mn rubles of state duty.
On January 18, human right activist’s wife Natallia Pinchuk transferred 757,526,717 Belarusian rubles ($90,000) to the account of the justice department of the Minsk city executive committee. The money was collected by voluntary donating.
Bialiatski faced prosecution after information about his accounts in foreign banks was disclosed to the Belarusian authorities by Lithuania and Poland. Bialiatski said in court the money on the accounts was used for human rights activity.