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onsdag 26 november 2008

Bakom taggtråden i Vitrysland, 2

fortsättning på unikt direktinlägg i 4 november.
Only in english - but surely worth while reading!/Lotta

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A straight look from behind “barbed wire” (Part II)

by Serhei Parsukevich,
Political prisoner of Belarus in 2008

Let’s us assume that two witnesses, very different people, could give their testimonies describing the same case by the same wordings during investigation process. But how could it be possible to explain the fact that both witnesses - Jakimchyk and Harbacheuski - totally changed their same preliminary testimonies during the hearings in trial? Does it mean that both witnesses were mistaken …?
If one could call the first coincidence a special case of the theory of probabilities, the other coincidence could not be explained even by science fiction.

Testimony of another witness – a nurse of the Akrescina DIC – was also very strange, not trustful. Once she claimed that she did not see any damage or injures while examining me I understood that she is not a person to trust in. Because she treated my body and face during five days of my imprisonment. When the nurse of the Akrescina DIC gave her testimonies she could not suppose that I had taken forensic examination on the eight day (just after my release from the Akrescina prison) passed after warrant officer Dulub had beaten me. That examination described clearly all injures I had got in the Acrescina DIC. Moreover, many people could see bruises and scratches on me after my release. There are some pictures of mine by that time in the Internet.
What else can I say about their testimonies if it was obvious that witnesses from the Dulub side give just false facts?

I can also point out that the official investigator Razanka tried to put pressure on me during the investigation process. Razanka needed my recognition in what I had never done. By doing this once he claimed that he would send me to the cell of criminals (so called “preschata”) if I continued to insist on evidences which contradict to official version of this case. It is pretty possible that investigator Razanka got used to make people to give facts that would support only official version of a crime. But coming to me he definitely failed with this.
Here I would like to tell a bit more about what it does mean “preschata” – the cell for criminals. I have never seen “preschata” but here I refer to the stories of people I heard in jail. Each prison of Belarus has a special cell for criminals who collaborate with the prison administration in full extent. The administration usually sends a person to preschata if he does not accept a crime that the administration wants him to take on by his own. In preschata a person immediately becomes the object of total harassment. The preschata’s prisoners humiliate the victim in every possible way by beating him or not giving him an opportunity to rest or to sleep. Obviously, the victim has nobody to complain about such tortures since it is right the prison administration’s order. Of course not everyone can bear such humiliation. Therefore, this pressure may often lead to a suicide by broaching veins.
As for my case the authorities did not allow themselves to come through such method of torture. I explain this in detail because I want to pay attention of the independent mass media not only to my case but to other prisoners’ since they may become a victim of torture in prison at any moment. You can imagine that this happens in the center of Europe today!

The trial cannot be described anyhow else but as the infinite lawlessness. A judge is always considered as an impartial side. But it was not in my case at all. During my trial a witness for prosecution changed his statement upside down and pointed out to the totally different person as a co-witness of the situation. What the judge of the trial did. He interfered into the statement of this witness for prosecution not by further questioning the witness but by straight statement which gave the witness some other, totally different, factual points. In other words, the judge gives his own interpretation of testimony of the witness. It was evident that the judge took a side of prosecution by helping “needed witnesses” to give testimony he wanted to hear in trial. At the same time evidences from the witnesses of my side were considered untruthful by default. As a result the judge passed the sentence based on false testimonies. Then, when I asked the judge to check on polygraph detector facts and evidences provided by all witnesses in trial he just ignored my petition again. Now it was the judge who did it! It was a very strange trial because the judge just totally disregarded my advocate’s arguments and mine. My voice in the trial looked liked a voice in wildness. What role does an advocate play in Belarusian court? It is unclear for me indeed. Since neither advocate nor suspect are listened to in the trial.

I do not know why we need to defense ourselves in court if we know that judge does not take into account the defensive side’s arguments? The judge has unlimited power in trial. He/she may expel any attendee in the process as we say just because he/she does not like a face of this person.

Advocacy is not a free law institution because this activity is licensed by the Public Prosecutor's office. This dependence of advocates is felt very well during trials, especially when Belarusian democratic activists or dissidents are judged. Besides this, advocate’s service costs a lot whatever result is. It is enough to say that only one visit of advocate of a convict in prison costs BYR 350,000 (USD 170). This is in a country where the average salary in industry sector is only USD 350. Of course not everyone can afford advocate services in Belarus.

Before the court process began I hoped that lawlessness would end up as soon as the details of my case become known to the public. The prosecutor’s office blamed me for my attack of a policeman in prison while I was on hungry strike. As for them I attacked him because of my vengeance to Dulub, the policeman who was on duty that day. But I never met him before his coming to my cell in prison. Moreover, I had been a policeman before I had gone to business. What kind of revenge I could feel against him …? During the investigation and trial I felt myself that I faced lawlessness being just tête-à-tête with the system. As a result I got two and a half years of imprisonment. What can I tell about this? It is out of any criticism, it is rather a point to continue struggle with this system.

After being in prison where I met a lot of people convicted of crimes under different pretexts I can state that my case is not the unique one at all. Now when I claim that lawlessness is ruling in my country I refer to the stories of many convicted people with different backgrounds. So, it is not obligatory to deal with politics in order to get years of imprisonment as a criminal in Belarus. Despite the conviction on order of authorities or because of interests of powerful people (“right to call and talk”) all justice system in Belarus is reported on different statistic data. It leads very often to misreporting crimes committed in the country. This is the picture of justice system when the same crime may be differently interpreted by a judge and other juridical institutions. Overall trend of sentences shows that punishment is becoming stronger and stronger from year to year. Since there is no institution of trial jury in Belarus trials are run by judges only. That is why every decision of a judge may be affected by people in power. The law is left behind the right to call and talk with a judge.
It undermines seriously the principle of impartiality in doing justice. Official interpretation of law enables a judge to sentence a guilty person in accordance with “judge’s internal conviction”. It means that evidences are not needed if the prosecution’s side is capable to persuade a judge in suspect’s guiltiness. It is the state that provides lawlessness, is not it? Where are we coming to? Any person can be convicted for nothing in such a system.

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