The trial of Artsiom Sarokin and Katsiaryna Barysevich was unexpectedly closed; lawyers of political prisoners stripped of their licenses; authorities say Taraikouski is to blame for his death; murder witness gets 10 years in prison, killer is treated as a victim in court
19 February 2021 | Voice of Belarus
The trial of Artsiom Sarokin and Katsiaryna Barysevich was suddenly closed, even Raman Bandarenka’s mother was asked to leave
Today the trial of TUT.BY journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsiom Sarokin began. The doctor and journalist face up to three years in prison. The reason for the criminal case was the journalist’s article, in which she quoted the doctor as saying that there was no alcohol in the blood of Raman Bandarenka, who had been beaten to death. But the authorities say Raman Bandarenka was drunk. The prosecutor’s office called the publication of the findings that refuted this claim an improper disclosure of medical records, although Bandarenka’s relatives have no complaints about the information being made public. During the court process, the judge decided that the case would be tried behind closed doors. This means that the public will not be able to find out the truth about what exactly the crime of the journalist and doctor, who told the truth about Raman Bandarenka’s condition, was. Those present responded to the court’s decision to close the trial by shouting, “Shame!” Journalists from non-state media were denied accreditation for the trial; Belarusian state media agencies and several Russian agencies were given the opportunity to work in the courtroom. About 200 people came to support the accused, including their relatives and colleagues, the mother of Raman Bandarenka, employees of the US, German and French embassies, as well as the EU mission in Belarus. “Of course, I expect to get to the court hearing, that’s why I’m here. I believe that Katsiaryna and Doctor Sarokin did not violate anything, I gave them permission [to disclose Raman’s medical information]. As an optimistic person, I hope that justice will prevail. Although, as the court practice shows, even in recent days, there is no justice,” said Raman’s mother, Alena Bandarenka. Doctors from the City Clinical Hospital of Emergency Care and other hospitals are deeply outraged by the trial of their colleague. “The feeling is that no one needs us, regardless of our experience, knowledge, qualifications,” doctors say.
It was his own fault that he died: There will be no criminal case on Aliaksandr Taraikouski’s murder
The Investigative Committee of Belarus refuses to investigate the murder of Aliaksandr Taraikouski, who was shot dead by security forces at a protest on 10 August 2020. Representatives of the Investigative Committee stated that Aliaksandr himself was to blame for his death because he allegedly provoked security forces officers. The head of the Investigative Committee of Belarus, Ivan Naskevich, said that Taraikouski was intoxicated. He separated himself from the crowd of protesters, ignored numerous warnings from security forces officers, and headed towards them. The security officials saw this as a real threat to their lives and health. They fired non-lethal weapons to stop the protester. But one of the injuries turned out to be fatal due to a number of coincidences. Aliaksandr Taraikouski instantly died at the scene. According to Aliaksandr’s common-law wife, he was sober before leaving the house; she had no information indicating that he was drunk. The woman is sure that sooner or later justice will prevail, and those responsible for the death of her husband will be punished.
Henadz Shutau’s murder witness can be imprisoned for 10 years
On 11 August 2020, Henadz Shutau was shot in the head in the city of Brest. Next to him was his friend, Aliaksandr Kardziukou. Now he is accused of attempted murder of a military man.
At the first court session on 16 February 2021, the name of the soldier who killed Shutau was announced. However, Raman Haurylau was treated as a victim at this trial.
The prosecutor asks to punish Kardziukou with 10 years in prison and to find the murdered Shutau guilty without imposing a punishment (posthumously). According to the investigators in this case, Kardziukou was allegedly going to kill the military man with a metal pipe. However, video footage from the surveillance cameras shows that Kardziukou does not attack anyone with it. When a conflict arose, Kardziukou fell and, while falling, touched the military man with a pipe on the thigh; then the military directed pistols at Shutau and Kardziukou. After the first shot, Shutau started running, after which he was mortally wounded in the head. Aliaksandr Kardziukou emphasized that he did not know that the military personnel actually were military. On that day, they were in plain clothes and their pistols were kept in belt bags. The involvement of the Armed Forces in dispersing peaceful demonstrations is not allowed under the law of the Republic of Belarus. This is not the first time that Belarusian authorities have refused to open criminal cases regarding the deaths of Belarusian protesters at the hands of security officials.
Maria Kalesnikava’s defense lawyer and three of her colleagues got their licenses revoked
The defender of Maria Kalesnikava, lawyer Liudmila Kazak, as well as well-known lawyers Kanstantsin Mikhel, Mikhail Kiryliuk and Maksim Konan, were deprived of their lawyer’s licenses for allegedly committing administrative offenses.
On 24 September 2020, Liudmila Kazak was abducted right off the street and taken to a police station, where she was searched. She spent the night in the detention center at Akrestsina, and the court found her guilty of disobeying the demands of the police officers during her arrest. As for Mikhel and Konan, participation in peaceful rallies is interpreted as an administrative offense. Lawyer Mikhail Kiryliuk was deprived of his license due to the fact that he posted public statements to the representatives of state bodies on the Internet. Representatives of the lawyers’ community believe that Liudmila Kazak’s detention and bringing to administrative responsibility is connected exclusively with her professional advocacy activities with work on high-profile cases – in particular, on the case of Maria Kalesnikava. This is the fourth lawyer of Maria Kalesnikava who has faced repressions because of their activities: Illia Salei is under house arrest, Maksim Znak is in custody, and Aliaksandr Pylchanka has been deprived of his license.
For more information on the events of 19 February 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: