Minsk: Trial of political prisoner Alyaksandr Vasilevich to be held behind closed doors

Savetski district court of Minsk started hearing the case of political prisoner, well-known media businessman Alyaksandr Vasilevich on January 24. He has already spent 17 months in a pre-trial detention centre.

Аlyaksandr Vasilevich. Photo: Nadzeya Zelyankova / Facebook

He is charged with ‘large-scale tax evasion’ (Part 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code), but the accusation has not been made public before the trial. If found guilty under this article, he might face up to 5 years of restriction of liberty, or 3-7 years in prison as well as a fine and deprivation of the right to engage in certain activities.

The prosecutor demanded that the hearing be held in camera, and judge Maryna Fyodarava took heed of the demand, aperson who was present in the courtroom told Mediazona. That is why the details of the case and charge are still unclear.

47-year-old entrepreneur Alyaksandr Vasilevich owns the advertising agency Vondel/Hepta, the Ў Gallery; he was a co-founder of popular web portals kyky.org and The Village.

‘Unauthorised mass event’. Business owner gets two-week jail term after visiting KGB


In the summer of 2020, the reputed Belarusian businessman was detained twice. In late July, he came to the KGB headquarters in Minsk; Alyaksandr and like-minded persons were about to hand over the appeal mitigating pre-trial restrictions imposed on the imprisoned presidential hopeful Viktar Babaryka, but most of them found themselves in a paddy wagon. Then Vasilevich was tried for ‘participating in an unauthorised mass event’ and sentenced to 14 days in jail. On August 28, officers of the Financial Investigations Department arrested him, raided his apartment and companies’ offices, interrogated his pregnant wife Nadzeya Zelyankova.

On September 4, charges were brought against Alyaksandr Vasilevich, but no details were reported then, since his defence lawyer was compelled to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Belarusian human rights community recognised him as a political prisoner.

While Alyaksandr was in custody, his daughter Urshulya was born on 2 December 2020. He has not seen her yet.

Political prisoner Alyaksandr Vasilevich writes fairy tale book for daughter