27-day hunger strike of a Latvian national imprisoned in Belarus
22:03, — Politics
Aleg Tsupa’s demand is to change the article he has been charged upon.
Grodna court convicted Latvian entrepreneur Aleg Tsupa to a 7,5-year prison term for an alleged assault. Aleg Tsupa declared a hunger strike for almost one month ago. Since then he has lost 14 kilograms. Aleg has no hopes to be discharged, but he demands that the article he has been charged upon is changed.
There are many unclear moments in Aleg Tsupa’s criminal case. In 2001, Aleg came to Grodna to buy a car. There he met Natallia Padmaska. After some time spent together, Natallia asked him to help her move her possessions since she had had a quarrel with her boyfriend. Being a gentleman, Aleg agreed to help. He came to Padmasko together with two other friends of hers. She opened the door, invited them to enter the apartment and showed the bags that were to be carried to the car.
Aleg Tsupa would have forgotten it ever happened, but 9 years later he was arrested and accused of assault. As it turned out, the girl was a prostitute who intended to rob someone’s apartment with help of occasional acquaintances.
Aleg’s wife Yaugeniya told charter97.org the details of the criminal case that she is convinced is groundless.
- Today it’s been 2,5 years since my husband was imprisoned, and 27 days since he announced a hunger-strike. Aleg was convicted illegally, but he has no hope that he’ll ever be discharged. He demands to change the article he’s been tried upon from “assault” to “stealth”. My husband insists that the previous amnesty laws from 2002-2009 should be applied to his case, because the police never searched him. If he is charged with stealth, the prison term can be reduced, and by now he could have already been at home with his family.
- Why doesn’t your husband demand release?
- Aleg realizes that the prosecutors will never admit having tried him illegally. And if we succeed in changing the article, he’ll be released. Aleg says: “I don’t care anymore if I was charged illegally. Amnesty is my only demand.” He suggests a compromise to the prosecutors. He’s OK with having a criminal record, the main thing for him is to be freed. If he is amnestied, he swears he won’t complain on the sentence.
- What do you do now to make Aleg’s liberation happen?
- Right now we try to make the prosecutor or his representative to come visit Aleg, to talk to him and make decisions. Our goal is to draw attention to our situation. Just think, the criminal case was initiated in 2001, and Aleg was arrested in 2010! In other words, they were looking for my husband for nine years. And Aleg, a Latvian national, twice got a residence permit at the municipal police department of Pinsk, 95 times crossed the Belarusian border and even officially founded a business in Belarus. He pays taxes and sells services. So back then in 2001 a grave mistake was made, and it still hasn’t been fixed.
The prosecutor’s office refuses to release Aleg in accordance with the amnesty laws from 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2009, because Aleg Tsupa was convicted only in 2010. At the same time, the prosecutors admit procrastination and don’t argue that the preliminary investigation regarding Aleg was paused for a long time. Thus, it is not Aleg’s fault that they were looking for him for nine years.
There are other questions in this case.
According to the convicted criminals, Aleg Tsupa and his “partner” Dzmitry Gluschenka met Natallia Padmaska after having read her announcement in a newspaper. That way she was looking for someone to spend time with. According to Natallia, Aleg Tsupa suggested an easy way to earn profit by making acquaintance with rich men, and stealing their money after having given them alcohol with sleeping pills. Natallia said that she agreed to cooperate with Aleg. Nevertheless, after her first client fell asleep, she didn’t call her “partners”, but went straight to Ruslan Yagorau and Alena Yagorava, two other participants of the case, having left the door to the apartment open. Meanwhile Aleg and Dzmitry were staying at Ruslan and Alena’s. For some reason, Natallia’s “partners” were resting at home instead of keeping watch close to the apartment that was to be robbed.
Natallia claimed that the men returned to the apartment together with her, to rob the sleeping client. And according to the men, Natallia asked them to help her move her belongings from the apartment that she shared with her boyfriend and decided to leave after a quarrel. The bags had already been packed and stood by the door, so neither Dzmitry, nor Aleg or Ruslan had any suspicions. People quarrel every day.
As it turns out, the “sleeping pill” that Aleg allegedly gave to Natallia was never found. Moreover, Natallia Padmaska cannot give exact information about the volume of the ampoule and the materials it was made of.
Another example of a unique memory was shown in court by victim Minchanka. Eight years after the crime, he recognized Aleg immediately. Actually it all would make sense and could happen in theory, unless the victim’s testimony wasn’t so misleading. He claims that he saw the “criminal” only once, back in 2001. At that moment Aleg was leaving a restaurant and the victim was drunk. In other words, the person who was so drunk that he could hardly remember his own name, acquired a phenomenal sight memory eight years after the crime.