November 28, 2012
The tax agencies use new ways to pressurize the member of the Council of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the president of the Belarusian Human Rights House Tatsiana Reviaka.The examination of the assets and income of the human rights defender for 2004-2010, conducted by the Pershamaiski District Tax Inspection, found no violations in the documents which were provided by her. However, as it was found during the examination, data from the criminal case of Ales Bialiatski have been included in her case. Bear in mind that in the documents of the Lithuanian and Polish banks which became the basis of the accusative verdict to Bialiatski, contained information about the means which were transferred to his colleagues, including Tatsiana Reviaka, for human rights activities. All people who were mentioned in these documents were interrogated as witnesses during the preliminary investigation and the trial of Ales Bialiatski. They did not deny receiving the financing, but refused to tell how they were spend, to who they were transferred, etc., referring to Article 27 of the Constitution, guaranteeing the right of individuals not to testify against themselves and their families. Though the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania disproved the presented bank information, the court considered all means that were mentioned in the documents as the personal income of Ales Bialiatski from which no taxes were paid. The human rights defender was sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment with the confiscation of property and compensation of the “damage”, which included the taxes and the fine for their untimely payment. As far as the information from the criminal case of the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” was passed to the tax agencies, his personal income can be also considered to be the personal income of his colleagues. On 20 and 27 November 2012 Tatsiana Reviaka was twice questioned by the senior tax inspector of the Pershamaiski District Tax Inspection Valiantsina Burava about the sums standing in the criminal case against Ales Bialiatski, which had been allegedly transferred to Tatsiana Reviaka. According to Burava, this information had been passed to the district inspection by the “higher organs of the Ministry of Dues and Taxes of the Republic of Belarus”. However, the inspector didn’t manage to answer on whose initiative these materials had been passed there. The same “higher organs” initiated the examination of Reviaka’s income and assets for the last ten years. Tatsiana Reviaka was proposed to answer the questions concerning the accounts in the Lithuanian bank, the purposes of their opening. Though in the protocol of the questioning it was stated that excerpts from the bank information on accounts of AO DnB NORD Bank in Vilnius were present in the case, the inspector refused to let Tatsiana Reviaka study them. In this situation the human rights activist refused to give any comments. The inspector Burava stated that the tax inspection would hold a check-up on the information received from Bialiatski, as a result of which it would be decided whether the means which had been allegedly transferred to Tatsiana Reviaka would be considered as her personal income from which no taxes were paid. The Human Rights Center “Viasna” considers such steps of the tax agencies as persecution of human rights defenders for their professional activities and yet another means to pressurize the organization, whose work does not stop after the arrest of its head Ales Bialiatski and the confiscation of the central office.