Prosecutor has presented today a new indictment against Ales Bialiatski. Despite hopes of many, the charges has not changes and the human rights activist is still accused of hiding income and tax evasion. The only thing that changed in the indictment was one sentence, where prosecution explained that Bialiatski received money on his foreing accounts in order to fullfill his obligations, listed in agreements with foreign donors.
The prosecutor claims that Bialiatski purpusfully hid the information about his income in 2007, which means he is still facing up to 7 years of imprisonment and property loss.
In the indictment the amount of money which, according to the prosecutor, the state has lost due to Bialiatski’s activity, has not changed, informed Valantsin Stefanovich from Viasna human rights center. According to the estimates made by the prosecution, Bialiatski avoided paying almost 40 thousend dollars.
Nor did the prosecutor withdraw information based on the documents submitted by the Lithuanian authorities, despite the fact that Lithuanian ministry of justice said it was not a reliable document – noted Stefanovich.
Some commentators predicted that the new indictment will charge Bialiatski with working for an illegal organization – Viasna lost its legal status in 2002. The decision not to prosecute Bialiatski for working in Viasna means that the authorities are not interested in charging and sentencing all the people who work for the human rights center, thinks Stefanovich. Apparently they are only interested in the head of the organization.
Bialiatski’s lawyer asked to adjuorn the next court hearing until November 22nd in order to read the new case file.