Human Rights Defender Tried in Minsk 16:32, 18/10/2006
Today Leninski court of Minsk is to hear the case against human rights defender Katsiaryna Sadouskaya. Ms. Sadouskaya, 60, is charged with insult of Alexander Lukashenka, threats to a judge, as well as insulting the judge of Kirau district court (Mahiliou region).
Katsiaryna Sadouskaya is the chairperson of Belarusian branch of Pskov Vecha movement. She organized many pickets in defense of human rights in Belarus. She often attended trials and helped people who needed her assistance in defending their rights at police and prosecutor’s offices. Sadouskaya has been arrested and fined for her activity many times.
On July 25 Katsiaryna Sadouskaya was visited by 2 women and a man who showed his KGB ID card. They invited Sadouskaya to sit in their car and drove her away for a “conversation”. The next day her family learned that Sadouskaya was kept in a mental hospital. The family found out that she was offered a choice: jail or mental hospital.
In the beginning Katsiaryna Sadouskaya was charged with insulting and threatening the judge of Kirau district court. The reason for instigating proceedings was a record from the judge’s voice mail. The recorded voice insults the judge and mentions the name of Sadouskaya who last year defended citizen Smailau tried by that judge. The judge had also received letters with threats and curses which were also attached to the case.
In the end of the investigation Katsiaryna Sadouskaya was also charged with insult of Alexander Lukashenka. The ground for the charge was a statement of the organization signed by Sadouskaya and dated January 21. In the statement Sadouskaya demanded psychiatric expert examination of Alexander Lukashenka, called for boycott of the presidential election and accused Russian secret services of support of the Belarusian government.
Katsiaryna Sadouskaya’s family is concerned about her health condition. Sadouskaya is sick with pancreatic diabetes, and has gone through a complex surgery not long before the arrest. Katsiaryna’s husband Viktar is disabled and has to take care of his sick mother-in-law. He hopes the court will be merciful to his wife. Viktar Sadouski told RFE/RL: “Who did he insult? And they arrested her wrong way: they didn’t send summons, they just came and brought her to the mental hospital. She needs insulin twice a day. They just removed a malignant growth on her back… she still has a thread there… and she is 60 already”.
The court hearing began today at 10 a.m. at Leninski court of Minsk, reports RFE/RL.