KGB Chief Valery Vakulchyk does not know whether the defendants in the White Legion case will stand trial.
The probe into the case is still in progress and it is too early to say whether the case will be sent to court, he told reporters on Tuesday.
“Even if investigators and I have strong suspicions that someone is guilty, it is not enough – there should be strong evidence of someone’s guilt. There must be the rule of law and justice so that any defendant in a criminal case could see we treat him in a proper way,” he said.
According to the top security official, allegations of torturing the prisoners are not true.
“Vakulchyk’s unconvincing explanation has once again proved the fact that they have no incriminating evidence,” said Zmitser Dashkevich, who was arrested over the case in late March and released from the KGB jail on April, 15. Criminal charges against him were dropped.
A wave of arrests on charges of establishing an illegal armed formation began after Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s statement about ‘West-sponsored militants’ preparing a bloody provocation to ‘undermine the stability in Belarus’. In their news stories state-run TV channels showed police footage of the search of an apartment, Interestingly, journalists called the findings – airsoft replicas and training grenades – ‘assault weapons’.
About 30 persons – former members of the defunct sports and patriotic organization White Legion, state-authorized sports and military club Patriot, Young Front activists as well as people who are not associated with any organizations, landed up in jail after Lukashenka’s words about ‘armed militants.
Simultaneously, a criminal case was opened over the so-called preparation of mass riots in Minsk on March 25, the unofficial Freedom Day. For Belarus’ security agencies it was a chance to prove their irreplaceability, independent experts believe.
“It was a political order. Law enforcers fulfilled it with pleasure,” Vital Tsyhankou, a political columnist for RFE/RL, believes.
But there were neither riots nor militants in the Belarusian forests.
“Lukashenka blabbed the first thing about the dozens of bandits that came to his mind, his minions arrested everyone they reached, and only after the detentions they began to think what should be incriminated and where evidence should be collected. Now we see that Young Front activists who have been recenly released, were imprisoned for no fault of theirs,” Dashkevich stressed.
14 defendants in the case are still behind bars.
According to Vital Tsyhankou, it is up to Lukashenka to decide whether they will appear before court. In his opinion, the Belarusian leader will be taling into account the ‘domestic and foreign situation’.