23 January 2021, Saturday, 8:15
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Witness: I was beaten and forced to slander against Autukhovich

11

Witness Alyaksandr Kozel has been guarded to court fro ma penal colony for questioning at the trial overt political prisoners Mikalai Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka on March 25.

Alyaksandr Kozel is serving a term for the arson of the house of former militia chief Katsuba from Vauklavysk in 2005. As Radio Svaboda reminds, Alyaksandr Kozel was found guilty in 2006.

The witness said investigators pressed on him, beat him and demanded that he should have given false evidence against Mikalai Autukhovich. He was forced to say that Autukhovich had ordered to kill head of the Hrodna region executive committee Uladzimir Sauchanka.

According to Kozel, that occurred before a trial in 2006. He said during an interrogation that it was Autukhovich who had ordered to set Katsuba’s house on fire. Now he denies this information and claims the evidence was given under pressure. Prosecutor Safarau read out Kozel’s evidence different from those he had given earlier before and after the trial in order to find out which evidence given by Kozel was true.

We remind that trial started in the Supreme Court on March 10. The proceedings have been taking place every day since March 16. Mikalai Autukhovich, Uladzimir Asipenka, and Alyaksandr Laryn face the supreme penalty – life imprisonment, or capital punishment. Among the three accused, only Alyaksandr Laryn admits partial guilt.

Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka were arrested in Vaukavysk on February 8, 2009. Political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich was earlier persecuted for his active struggle for the rights of entrepreneurs. As human rights activists think, he and Uladzimir Asipenka are accused of committing grave crimes without any grounds. Protesting against unlawful arrest, Autukhovich went on 90-day hunger strike in prison, which ruined his health.