People in Vaukavysk believe that accusations against political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich are groundless. The authorities revenge him of his independent political position and readiness to defend his business.
We remind that political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich stopped his three-month hunger strike on July 16. The former head of Nika-Taxi 22222 firm is accused of arson of a militiaman’s house and suspected of preparation for murder of the head of the Hrodna region executive committee and the deputy minister of taxes and levies. Judging from the information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, he must have attempted their lives with the help of a grenade launcher (!) found in Hrodna in 2005.
“Salidarnast” newspaper writes that nobody of 50.000 Vaukavysk dwellers can joke about the last statement in respect to Mikalai Autukhovich. The matter is becoming more serious.
A newspaper correspondent came in Vaukavysk and tried to talk with the staff of Nika-Taxi 22222 firm and its acting director Lyudmila Paremskaya, who was arrested recently, but later released. A gatekeeper met the correspondent in front of the closed doors. As a real Belarusian, the gatekeeper played a common guy who doesn’t known and doesn’t care for anything and answered: “The director is on a business trip. When will she return? I don’t know a damn thing about it.”
A stranger can’t enter the territory of Nika-Taxi 22222 firm today.
Everybody trying to contact Lyudmila Paremskaya by phone for a week (since her release after the arrest) gets an answer that he has gone on a business trip.
By the way, on this very place – near the firm office – one can understand that Nika-Taxi 22222 was the main thing for a workaholic Mikalai Autukhovich. The back wall of the firm’s garage bloc is the back wall of the twp-storey house of the entrepreneur. It took him only five minutes to get to the office.
The door to a yard behind the tall fence is closed. Neighbours say Autukhovich’s wife hasn’t been here for about three months, and his daughter studies in Poland.
A pensioner living across the road tells that people feel sympathy to Mikalai. She and her friend took cheap taxis to get to bath-house, he gave a car for free to his neighbour s for a funeral.
– He always said hello to me though we are unacquainted. Please help him in Minsk, – the old woman said.
“They seized a portrait of Autukhovich in military uniform”
We spoke with Yulia Mikhnyuk, a daughter of Autukhovich’s colleague Yury Lyavonau, at the town’s central square. She said she didn’t ask for help but just hoped for a happy end. Something like a year and a half ago, when her father was released on parole and came home once in the evening.
– Yulia, did you or your father expect his arrest on February 8?
– It was absolutely unexpected. After his first prison term I asked if he would face problems in the future. He said with certainty no cases would be instigated against him any more.
As my father was forbidden to hold any executive positions, he worked as a programmer in the firm. It was calm till February 8.
At 7 in the morning there was a ring at the door. All were sleeping expect for father who was going to go to work. Dad opened the door and 6 men in mufti ran into the flat. They showed a search warrant to him. They seized a portrait of Autukhovich in uniform, personal correspondence between my father and mother, his notebook and a soldering iron.
After dad was taken away for questioning and it became known that he would be guarded to a pre-trial detention facility, I came to the militia department. When he went out to smoke I asked: “dad, for what?” he answered: “Lyolik, it’s funny, but it is because of Katsuba’s house arson in 2005.”
I broke down and told the militiaman who escorted father: “Are you stupid?” the case was closed long ago, the arsonists were in prison!
I knew later that Autukhovich and Asipenka were detained on the same day. Thefact that Asipenka was detained is outrage! He didn’t work for the firm for a year, he didn’t contact with my father and Autukhovich.
The next day I went to Syarhei Katsuba, the former chief of the militia department, whose house was set on fire on the day his daughter had wedding if I’m not mistaken. He is a director of a printing house in Vaukavysk now. I asked if he made any complaints against my father or Autukhovich. He said he had no relation to those arrests.
– In your view, why was your father arrested?
I don’t know the exact reasons, but probably because he cooperated with Autukhovich for a long time. I am sure my father didn’t commit anything unlawful. He weighs the pros and cons before doing something, reads a heap of literature.
As far as I know, he didn’t have conflicts with the local authorities. he didn’t want to interfere with politics, he said he had enough problems without it.
– Were Autukhovich and your father friends?
– I think they had just labour relations. At east, I don’t remember Autukhovich visiting us at home. But if he had a problem at work, Autukhovich phone my father “Yura, settle it!”
– Did your father tell you when the investigation may finish?
– I think it’s difficult to define the terms. He has been said a thousand times: “Yura, confess.” Father answers them: “why you are buying time? Send the case to court!” They stoop their heads and go away.
Now a new case was added and an investigator was changed. it took a lot of time for Viktar Klachko to examine all papers.
– Did you speak with current director of Nika-Taxi Lyudmila Paremskaya after her arrest and release?
– My husband tried to talk to her, but failed: she avoids any contacts. I don’t know where’s Alena, wife of Autukhovich. Her mobile phone is unavailable.
– What outcome of the case do you expect?
– I hope my father will be released. I think there is and won’t be justice in our country unless the power is changed. I am not going to stay in Belarus. This country has maimed my father and family. I hope my father and we will move to Russia (Yury Lyavonau was born in Tver – S.).
“I’ll break down if I don’t see him!”
Lidziya, 70-year-old mother of Mikalai Autukhovich, is in far worse emotional state. Her son’s arrest makes her another victim of doubtful criminal cases. It’s difficult for her to find proper word at the beginning of the conversation, some minutes later it becomes clear – she is near to burst in tears.
– Ms Lidziya, please, tell us about your son.
– Kolya was born on January 7, 1963 in Vaukavysk. His father, who died before his son’s birth, worked as a driver. I worked at a bakery plant, then as a dishwasher in the school where Kolya studied. I was always with him, took care of him.
He finished the seventh year in school and went to college to become a driver – he probably decided to follow in his father’s wake. Then he went to serve in Afghanistan for two years. Once he came home for a holiday and said: “Mum, I am lucky. The car, where I was to be, was destroyed with all soldiers.”
When he returned from Afghanistan, he went to work in a military unit in Vaukavysk and then started to run his business. He is so kind! His teachers, with whom I talk, remember him for his good qualities and are distressed for him. He is not a hooligan or a gangster. He helped many people, he gave presents to the children’s house. But now people will hardly help him in this difficult time.
They know that he is not a criminal, but they torture him. Would a criminal go on hunger strike? Three months have passed, but they are dragging on, they want him to die (crying). Isn’t it enough that he returned alive from Afghanistan? He was there, but where did they served?
Did Mikalai deal with policy? What policy?! He has much work! He worked day and night with people.
– But he ran in the parliamentary elections in 2004.
– Perhaps people elected him. But the authorities didn’t allow this. Ask in the town – all people in Vaukavysk support him!
– What was Mikalai’s health condition after his first prison term?
– He felt badly, he had high blood pressure. Whenever I came to him at work, he had headaches, he was always red. Who will take care of him after this hungry strike? He hasn’t recovered since his previous strike, he returned home only a year ago, and now they arrest him again.
– Do you receive any information from Mikalai?
– I don’t. I didn’t visit him, didn’t receive letters. We don’t contact with his wife, I don’t know if he writes her.
I wait for Mikalai every day. I leave home and don’t know where to go – I can think only about him. Will he return alive? How is it possible not to accept food for three months? Maybe he is not able to speak.
Don’t they have children? God sees everything, it’s a mockery! God will punish them!
I’ll break down if I don’t see him! Help to save my son! (Crying).
A stranger can’t get to the territory of Nika-Taxi 22222 firm
Mikalai Autukhovich’s house has been empty for some months
White Mercedeces from Mikalai Autukhovich’c company are a trademark of Vaukavysk
Yulia Mikhnyuk (on the left) and her sister hope for a successful outcome of the case
Mikalai Autukhovich wasn’t killed in Afghanistan only due to a happy coincidence
Lidziya Autukhovich waits for her son every day