Co-chairman of the organising committee for creation a movement of Afghan war veterans “Fatherland’s defenders” is sure that a year ago Mikalai Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka were taken in custody illegally.
“A year has passed. 365 days. Let every realistic person think it over: if these people are guilty, why haven’t they been convicted yet? If not guilty, why haven’t they been released? Mikalai Autukhovich is an officer who took part in Afghan war, he has three combat decorations. Having facts on murders of Viktar Hanchar, Yury Zakharanka, Anatol Krasouski, Zmitser Zavadski, a sudden mysterious death of Henadz Karpenka, the authorities do not investigate these crimes for more than 10 years! But prominent people were murdered, and three of them were potentially presidential candidates for presidency in Belarus. and I this case a war veteran is kept in prison illegally,” stated Alyaksandr Krasouski said in an interview to charter97.org website.
To his mind, charged against Autukhovich is “pure and simple arbitrariness”.
“I am sure that investigators do not have proofs. If there is guilt, with modern inquiry methods it would have been established long ago. What have investigation been doing for the whole year? There is simply no guilt, and it is to be invented. They cannot admit that honestly and apologize to people, pay compensation, restore their business. No, they will play cat-and-mouse, lie and are sure to convict them. It is impossible to prove some case for a person in modern Belarus,” Kamarouski said.
The co-chairman of the organising committee for setting up Afghan war veterans’ movement named the following reasons for prosecution of Vaukavysk businessmen:
“It is obvious that Autukhovich’s business was a hindrance for somebody, besides, he dared to raise questions about corruption in the region. And in our country only Lukashenka decided who is to stand trial, and who is to be pardoned. Such things cannot be forgiven. Besides, a denial to accept Lukashenka’s awards dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and creation of an independent organisation of combat actions’ veterans.”
On February 8, 2009, Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka were arrested in Vaukavysk. Almaz special group was sent to Vaukavysk from Minsk to arrest the entrepreneurs. The detainees 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. They are accused of attempt on the life of regional high-ranking officials. Lyavonau was released from Minsk remand prison on August 8. On September 24, he was cleared from all charges.
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.