What happened at the trial of ex-special forces soldier Harauski.
On September 19, the court of the Swiss canton of St. Gallen began the trial of ex-fighter of the Belarusian special rapid reaction unit (SOBR) Yury Harauski. The Belarusian is being tried under universal jurisdiction on charges of involvement in the kidnapping and murder of political opponents of Aliaksandr Lukashenka — former Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus Yury Zakharanka, ex-head of the Central Election Commission Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatol Krasouski. Novy Chas reports how the first hearing went.
The NCh correspondent noted increased security measures in court. Yury Harauski was taken to the trial under the protection of Swiss special services — the minibus in which he arrived was driven literally to the court door. Harauski himself came out, hiding his face under a hood. Filming was prohibited in the courtroom.
During the interrogation, Harauski said quite loudly that he had documents about the involvement of senior Belarusian officials in crimes.
“I still have documents in Belarus confirming the involvement of Paulichenka, Lukashenka, Sivakou and Sheiman in crimes against Belarus.”
“Where are these documents located?” the judge asked.
“In Belarus. I couldn't take them out.”
Harauski also says that after Deutsche Welle released a film about him, he began to fear for his life.
“Why did you take part in this film then, did you try to put pressure on the migration service in this way?” asked the judge.
“I wanted to convey the truth, despite the threat to my own life. I lost absolutely everything.”
The judge was interested in how and why Harauski ended up in Switzerland. The defendant avoided a direct answer: “They told me that they would take me to Europe.”
“Who said that?” the judge wanted to clarify.
“My curator,” Harauski answered quietly and turned off the microphone.
The judge noted that the migration service did not believe Harauski’s story and refused to grant him asylum, and asked what he intended to do.
“I don’t know, the passport expires next year, and dictator Lukashenka has prohibited renewing passports abroad,” he said.
The judge asked who could confirm that Harauski was not working for the special services.
“I don’t know who can confirm this. But if I stay in Switzerland, I will work, pay taxes and be a law-abiding citizen.
During the first court hearing, Harauski asked for forgiveness from the relatives of the kidnapped politicians for participating in the crimes, while reading the words from a piece of paper. And when the judge asked what punishment he considered fair for himself, he replied that he could not dictate to the court.
“You know the laws of Switzerland and you will make your own decision,” Harauski answered.
The prosecutor considered that enough evidence of Harauski’s guilt was presented in court and requested that the ex-special forces soldier be sentenced to three years in prison, two of which were suspended, with a probationary period of four years.
The prosecutor also considered that Harauski could not be extradited to Belarus.