News / 07.08.18

REP News Special Issue, August 3, "trade union case" – Day 5

The reports from the trial in Minsk are made on the daily basis by special correspondents of the and the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Viasna". See the footage of Day 5 of the trial below.

During the previous sessions, the court managed to hear the essence of the charge, interrogate the witnesses and proceeded to studying the case files. During Day 4, they coped with two volumes out of eleven case files.

On Day 5, August 3, the session started at 10 a.m. local time.

The court continued studying the written materials from the case files: description of documents from hard drives and text files from the computers confiscated from the office of the REP Trade Union. The volumes contain financial documents, payment bills, check and ticket copies and official correspondence.

There are several documents confirming the receipt of some funds from a Swedish trade union by Alexander Yaroshuk, the Chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (known as the BKDP).

As if feeling that the documents contained in the case volumes indicate the huge scope of real activities of the trade union and the strict system of accounting for the expenses made, the state prosecutor Vadim Kazej quickly lists volume after volume, reading out only the documents requested by Judge Marina Fyodorova, or Gennady Fedynich.

Special attention was given to anonymous letters, which are contained in Volume 7 of the case files. The author thereof reports about Mr Fedynich's embezzlement of project funds, his faked reports about seminars that had never been held, and about his personal enrichment for the money of solidarity foreign assistance.

However, when one of the advocates asked to read out the assignment of the Investigating Committee to the Department of Financial Investigations "to find and contact the author of anonymous letters," the investigators failed to find him/her.

Then, the advocates asked to announce the answer of the Lithuanian Prosecutor's Office to the request for help from their Belarusian counterparts. Lithuanian prosecutors refused to help arguing as follows: "It cannot be provided under Article 19 of the Treaty on Legal Assistance in Family and Criminal Cases between the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Belarus":

Article 19. Refusal to provide legal assistance

"Legal assistance is not provided if the provision thereof may damage the sovereignty or security, rights and legal interests of citizens, or contradicts the basic principles of the current legislation of the requested Contracting Party."

Investigators have also established that Fedynich entered the Republic of Lithuania, together with Nikolai Avtukhovich, via the Russian Federation (the checkpoint Burachki of the Pskov Region) on March 6 and 8, 2018. At this time, Mr Fedynich was under recognizance not to leave Belarus.

The Investigating Committee of Belarus asked Russia to question the border guards about the circumstances of their crossing the border. Russians agreed to provide the legal assistance.

After Gennady Fedynich asked to read out the report about the inspection at the checkpoint, the prosecutor announced:

"The interrogation of the head of the Burachki checkpoint chief in performance of the request: 'We were asked to inspect the car, in which there were Messrs Zhol, Avtukhovich and Fedynich for the presence of illegal means. The inspection was conducted by agents of the FSB, drug control and other structures. No prohibited means have been found. All of them voluntarily gave out their money. The smallest amount thereof was on Fedynich and Avtukhovich. A laptop was confiscated and sent for examination. Although Avtukhovich hid one of the bank cards in his sleeve, we still did not have any grounds for confiscating any bank cards. During the inspection, all the persons behaved calmly and did not start any conflict."

Then, the prosecutor proceeded to Volume 10 of the criminal case. It contains the inspection protocol of the house in the Dzerzhinsky District and arrest of the property - the capital structure and the land plot owned by Nina Nikolaevna Borisevich (the mother-in-law of Gennady Fedynich).

The following statement of the Presidium of the REP Trade Union signed by Gennady Fedynich was read out:

"For the past 6 months, an investigation has been underway of the fabricated criminal case. The arrest imposed on the union property and the pressure on trade union members are restricting our union activities. We regard the criminal case as an attempt to discredit the union ... We declare a protest ..."

"Vadim Fedynich and his wife have a Subaru and a Toyota cars, registered at the GAI (traffic inspectorate," reads the prosecutor.

The prosecutor continues: "Gennady Fedynich had been brought to administrative responsibility under Articles 18:13, 18:23, 18:34, 18.4 and 23:34, of the Code of Administrative Offences; he had never before been brought to any criminal liability."

Mr Kazej reads out excerpts from the Cadastral Registry: "Mr Fedynich possesses only an apartment and one car parking place."

Gennady Fedinich puts forward a petition: "High Court, since the prosecutor talks about some balances on banking accounts, then, let him say what exactly is left there! Maybe, we hide millions there, but no one knows!"

Prosecutor: "Tatiana Babenok (a Fedinich's daughter-in-law) has BYN 1340 in her account; and Fedynich himself has no money in his account ..."

Banks were also checked for money accounts of Fedynich's children. One of Gennady's sons has 50,000 US dollars in his banking salary card. He works as an IT professional.

The next court session will take place on Monday, August 6.

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