24 May 2019, Friday, 7:29
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Amnesty Denied To Mikhail Zhamchuzhny

MIKHAIL ZHAMCHUZHNY
PHOTO: SVABODA.ORG

The political prisoner was denied an amnesty, since it is provided only under the “drug article.”

Vitsebsk human rights activist Leanid Svetsik addressed the deputies of the Belarusian parliament with a proposal to grant an amnesty to persons convicted under articles 375, 376 and 431 of the Criminal Code, according to which political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny is serving his sentence.

But the “deputies” answered that it is possible to apply the “act of humanism” only to convicts under Art. 328 of the Criminal Code (the so-called “drug article”), Vitsebsk Viasna reports.

In his appeal to the “chamber of representatives”, Leanid Svetsik proposes that the “deputies” use their right to finalize the texts of legislative acts and include in the amnesty law the persons convicted under articles 376 (part 1, part 2), 375 (part 1 ) and 431 (part 1, part 2) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. As of today, only one person is serving a sentence in prison under these articles – political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny.

“The amnesty of this person will be an act of humanism on the part of the state, will demonstrate the desire of the Belarusian authorities to comply with international standards in the field of human rights,” – the human rights activist says in his address.

However, the chairman of the Standing Committee on National Security Valiantsin Mikhnevich assures Svetsik that his appeal “on the issue of applying an amnesty to persons convicted under Article 328 of the Criminal Code of Belarus” has been considered. He describes the principle of collegiality in the development of the amnesty and lists the names of the bodies that determined the list of articles to which the previous amnesty applied.

“On March 13, 2019, the standing commission of the “chamber of representatives” on national security considered the possibility of using this act of humanism by the state in respect of persons convicted under Article 328 of the Criminal Code and sent a letter to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus with a request to take our proposals into account when preparing this bill,” – Mikhnevich writes.

Human rights activist Leanid Svetsik argues that he raised the topic of amnesty for convicts under the 328 article neither in the current appeal nor before it.

“This topic is very important. Probably, the members of the commission have received a lot of appeals about the need of amnesty for convicts under the “drug” article, so I don’t rule out that there was confusion. But I’ve never received an answer to my proposal – to amnesty political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny. This is a shame...” – Leanid Svetsik says.

Meanwhile, on April 17, the alleged list of articles which may be subject to amnesty in 2019 was published by the tut.by portal. According to the bill, which got to the journalists, the amnesty will also be applied to those executed under the “drug” article. However, only partially. In particular, they can reduce the terms of imprisonment for minors for two years and for those convicted under parts 1,2,3 of Art. 328 – for 1 year.