The criminal case of Jolan Viaud is heard by the Homiel region court. The man is accused of smuggling firearms and trafficking of prohibited substances.
The prosecutor has accused Jolan Viaud of intentionally carrying a live cartridge, which he had imported from Lithuania. He is also accused of the fact that the cartridge was found by customs officers in the personal inspection room when Jolan was leaving Belarus. Mr Viaud said that he specifically walked into the “red corridor” to present his belongings and the souvenir cartridge to the inspector. Mr Viaud said he knows what he is being accused of, but pleaded not guilty.
About 40 people gathered for the court hearing. Journalists are not allowed to enter the courtroom and film the trial.
The 24-year-old Frenchman was detained on September 21 at a border checkpoint Novaya Huta. He was traveling to Ukraine. He was returned to Homiel and placed in a detention facility #3.
Customs officers say that Viaud was crossing the border on foot and did not declare the cartridge. However, according to the letter from Viaud, sent from the detention facility and published online, Jolan specifically walked into the “red corridor” to present his belongings and the souvenir cartridge he had received from a Warsaw friend to the inspector.
The Frenchman is facing from 2 to 7 years in prison.
A petition urging the release of Jolan Viaud has been created online.