The Minsk City Court has not satisfied the cassation appeal against the verdict to Ales Bialiatski and left the sentence unreversed.
Defence lawyer Dzmitry Layeuski supported Bialiatski’s cassation appeal. According to him, the investigation did not define any donors and agreement details and thus the conclusion of law that sums transferred to Bialiatski were his fees can not be admissible.
The defence lawyer noted that incompetent evidence was admitted while a number of important documents were left unexamined in the sentencing court. In particular, it concerns the official letter from the Lithuanian Ministry for Justice which denied that the information on Bialiatski’s bank account having been submitted to the Belarusian authorities before was true and accurate. On this basis the defence lawyer asked the court to overturn the conviction to Bialiatski and terminate the criminal case.
In his turn, prosecutor Kiryl Chubkavets stated that the court had already sifted every possible evidence. In his opinion, Bialiatski fully realized the necessity of paying taxes on the funds raised. For this reason, the cassation appeal could not be satisfied, Chubkavets summed up.
Ales Bialiatski, the head of human rights center „Viasna“ shut down by the Belarusian authorities and the vice-president of FIDH (International Federation of Human Rights Defenders), has been in jail since August 4th, 2011. He was accused of large-scale tax evasion based on documents handed to the Belarusian prosecution by Polish and Lithuanian officials and sentenced to 4.5-year confinement in a high-security prison and confiscation of property. Bialiatski shall also pay 721 million rubles of the compensation for financial damage allegedly caused on the state, and 36 million rubles of the court expenditures (appr. $ 90,000 in total). Due to donations the necessary amount of money was raised.
On 18 January 2012, Ales Bialiatski’s wife transferred the money (757,526,717 rubles) to the account of the Department of Justice of Minsk City Executive Committee for the Court of Pershamaiski District.