Investigators have explained to the leaders of the REP Trade Union why they cannot return the computer equipment seized "for examination" back in August 2017.
"We have nothing to do now but go to the court," Gennady Fedynich, one of the leaders of the trade union, has commented the situation to the website palitviazni.info.
Let us remind you that on November 9 last year, the Minsk City Court (MCC) considered the appeal complaint lodged by the REP Trade Union, Gennady Fedynich and Igor Komlik, against the verdict passed on August 24, 2018, by the first-instance court, according to which they were found guilty under Part 2, Article 243, of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (large-scale tax evasion).
The first-instance court, the Sovietsky District Court (to be correct, Judge Marina Fyodorova, who acted alone, despite the phrase, she kept repeating through the trial, "after consulting on the spot, the court has decided that …" – obviously inherited from the Soviet days, when a judge was accompanied by two dummies, the so-called "people's assessor", which did not and does not change the essence of the court, – note of the "REP News") sentenced the REP leaders to four years of freedom restriction without sending them to jail. Besides, they have no right to occupy leadership positions for a subsequent period of five years. The MCC upheld the verdict. Human rights defenders, including international ones, treated the case as politically motivated.
Meanwhile, the equipment, which was seized from the REP and BNP trade union offices and from apartments of union leaders and a number of activists in August 2017, is still kept by investigators, who wouldn't give it back.
"We've received an answer from the Investigating Committee (IC) for the city of Minsk, where we had turned for explanations," Mr Fedynich continues. "The answer is really shocking! We were informed that 'the fate of the seized property will be solved after all the measures taken to ensure a full and comprehensive investigation of the circumstances that are relevant to the audit, conducted based on the materials of the check in relation to G. Fedynich and I. Komlik, about what you will be informed additionally. Thus, it is not possible to return the property to you now'. Such an answer is just a mockery of the common sense. I don't understand what other circumstances they investigate, when the district and the city courts have already passed their judgements?" the union leader asks. "Maybe our lawsuit against the IC will hasten them to return of the equipment."