Vitsebsk regional court has found Andrey Haydukou guilty of ‘an attempt of establishing contacts with foreign intelligence services without signs of high treason’. Firstly the youth activist was accused of treason against the Fatherland, then the charge was softened.
In his letter to Tatsiana Seviarynets, Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD)`s coordinator in Vitsebsk region, the 23-year-old man revealed that he was suspected of offering to collect sensitive information about Belarus for the US Central Intelligence Agency. According to Mr Haydukou, the KGB claimed that his activities could have caused damage to the national security of Belarus and classifies them as an attempt to undermine the constitutional order of Belarus and impose a policy that does not meet its national interests. The KGB accused Mr Haydukou of trying to destabilize the social and political situation in Belarus and seeking financial assistance from the CIA through the US embassy in Minsk.
The hearing of the ‘spy’ case started on June 12, 2013. Mr Haydukou had to appear before court in camera despite human rights activists’ demands to make the trial public.
The sole proof?
According to Mrs Haydukova, the mother of the convict, $300 seized from her son by investigators appeared in his case.
‘I don’t know what the money is. They liked those $300 – and seized them. In my opinion, a man who has been working for Naftan [a Belarusian petrochemical enterprise – Belsat] has the right and opportunity to buy $300 or even € 1000. I have no idea what way the money turned out to be involved in the case,’ Volha Haydukova told reporters after the verdict being given. She does not consider her son to be guilty and believes that he should be freed, the woman added.
Only chekists know why
Human rights defender and former defence lawyer Pavel Sapelka stresses that Haydukou was tried under the article which was included in the Criminal Code only in 2011. Then human rights activists harshly criticized introducing the new article because of its being politically charged and poorly drafted.
‘To my mind, the 2011 amendments to the Criminal Code aimed at preventing Belarusian citizens from engaging in political and social activities. Especially for this reason they did not specify what ‘foreign services’or ‘cooperation’ meant. As a result, these concepts have a vast scope of application, which provides the opportunity of misuse. This is the very thing that happened to Haydukou – even now we don’t know what he has been convicted for,’ Mr Sapelka said.
The leader of unregistered organization ‘The Union of Young Intellectuals’ was arrested by the State Security Committee (KGB) on November 8, 2012 in Vitsebsk. On November 13, 2013 KGB spokesman Aliaksandr Antanovich announced that Mr Haydukou ‘had gathered and passed political and economic information on the instructions of a foreign intelligence agency,’ and that he had been caught in the act of making a dead drop.
A lot of oppositionists and human rights defenders believe that it is the social activism that caused Haydukou’s arrest.