Mikalai Kazlou, Chairman of the United Civic Party of Belarus (UCPB), was sentenced to three-month imprisonment, human rights centre Viasna reports. According to the authorities’ version, he disclosing information about the probe into the case of the Coordination Council.
The politician was found guilty under Art. 407 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (‘disclosure of information related to preliminary investigation’), but the details ar unknown, since the trial was held behind closed doors. Judge Tatsyana Shotsik imposed the maximum possible penalty on the UCPB leader.
The politician had repeatedly refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement after numerous interrogations by the Investigative Council as part of the ‘Coordination Council’ criminal case, which resulted in his being penalised under administrative law.
Earlier, Kazlou demanded the court show him the materials of the administrative case, but the judge rejected the motion.
“I never revealed anything secret. And I am really dismayed at the High Court’s reluctance to attach this evidence to the criminal case. I reiterate my call on the High Court to be objective and impartial and to examine all evidence,” he said then.
In April, Mikalai Kazlou served a 15-day term of administrative arrest in the notorious detention centre on Akrestsin street in Minsk. Upon the release, he was taken out of jail in handcuffs with his head caught between his knees and left outside of town. That was not the only torture incident he went through over those 15 days; e.g. the man testifies that water with a high concentration of chlorine was poured on the floor of a small cell at the order of the prison authorities.
“There was so much chlorine in the punishment cell that people felt sick after a few minutes. I was in such a state for two days that it seemed I was going to spit out my lungs. My eyes hurt, like after welding without a mask. What is this? I want to ask, what kind of Nazism, fascism is Lukashenka going to fight? Fascism is here, it is quite comfortable here in the temporary detention facility. And his place is the impunity and permissiveness of law enforcers,” the politician said.
According to him, the inmates sleep on the floor, there are no bedsheets or even mattresses; many people ‘breathe recycled air with minimal oxygen’.
Mikalai Kazlou is also a member of the opposition Coordination Council which was set up by Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her associates as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. Belarus’ Prosecutor General opened a criminal case over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’.