Lawyer Pavel Sapelka visited political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich in the Minsk detention facility on January 22.
Pavel Sapelka handed the Vaukavysk entrepreneur a service medal in memory of the 20th anniversary of the end of the Afghan War. The businessman received the medal from a Russian Afghan war veterans NGO.
As Radio Svaboda reports, an order to award Autukhovich with a medal was signed by General Gromov, a prominent commander of the 40th army and governor of the Moscow region. Political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich is an Afghan War veteran, he has several combat awards.
We remind that before his arrest, Mikalai Autukhovich and a lot of Afghan war veterans refused to accept a service medal in memory of the 20th anniversary of the end of the battle actions in Afghanistan, given by the Belarusian authorities.
We remind that businessmen from Vaukavysk Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka were detained on February 8, 2009. On February 18, the entrepreneurs were charged under article 218 of the Criminal Code (intentional damage to or destruction of property of citizens). On June 23, a criminal case under article 359 of the Criminal Code (a terroristic act) in the form of preparation (article 13) was instigated against Autukhovich and “other persons”.
Lyavonau was released from Minsk remand prison on August 8. On September 24, he was cleared from all charges. Autukhovich and Asipenka are still in the detention facility #1 in Minsk.
Human rights activists consider them political prisoners, turning attention to the fact that Autukhovich and Lyavonau were convicted before and recognized prisoners of conscience by the international community. In January 2010, the influential Human Rights Watch recognized the Vaukavysk businessmen and arrested participant of the Process of 14 Artsyom Dubski political prisoners.