Previously, the Investigatory Committee only interrogated Minsk activists.
About 100 people have been interrogated in the framework of the REP independent trade union case. Leader of the Independent Trade Union of the Radio-Electronic Industry Workers (REP) Henadz Fiadynich voiced such numbers for Radio Liberty.
He clarified that the Investigatory Committee questioned only Minsk activists in this criminal case before:
“However, lately the investigators started pulling our people from the regions, ordinary members of the trade union. The regional branches of the Investigatory Committee joined the investigation. They asked us to provide the data about the trade union members. We refused. They seized our computers. They probably took the database from there. It’s obsolete. It seems that it’s the one they are using now,” — Fiadynich says.
He adds that this pressure primarily targets the organization’s members in order to discredit the work of the union and its leaders, thus making the union slow down its activity.
Fiadynich notes: the time to which the case has been prolonged, February 2, is approaching. Therefore, the investigators, he says, are in a hurry. Until now, neither computers, nor mobile phones, nor documents seized during the search were returned to the unions. “And this, of course, interferes with our work,” — says the leader of the REP trade union.
Today, the presidium of the independent trade union has issued a statement warning that such behaviour of the investigators will mar the image of Belarus. The trade union resolved to inform a number of international organization on what is happening in Belarus.
How the case started
On August 2, financial police raided two offices of the REP trade union, as well as the apartments of the union’s chairman Henadz Fiadynich and chief accountant Ihar Komlik.
Later, both faced criminal charges under Part 2, Article 243 of the Criminal Code (large-scale tax evasion)
Ihar Komlik was in detention for two months, while Fiadynich is under a non-leave obligation. Both plead innocent and are not going to pay the taxes they had allegedly failed to pay. The Investigatory Committee prolonged the case of the trade union leaders till February 2, 2018.