American film star Elijah Wood who rose to international fame after playing the role of hobbit Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, expressed his support to imprisoned Belarusian presidential hopeful Viktar Babaryka and his son Eduard.
According to the iconic actor, their friends in Belarus asked him to send a message of encouragement to father and son The video has been posted on Instagram by Eduard Babaryka’s girlfriend Alyaksandra Zverava.
He also quoted the saying from the Lord of the Rings: “There is some good in the world, Mr Frodo. It is worth fighting for.”
The Babarykas are known for being fans of J.R.R.Tolkien’s fantasy works.
As reported earlier, Viktar Babaryka had been Chairman of Belgazprombank Board since 2000. On May 12, when he revealed his presidential ambitions, he voluntarily resigned from his senior management job. Belgazprombank’s main shareholders from the Russian side are Gazprom and Gazprombank; in this view, Babaryka is often faulted for allegedly being linked to Moscow. At the same time, the prospective candidate has repeatedly put an emphasis on his being Belarusian. In his opinion, it is impossible to build an independent state when there is no solid foundation, i.e. culture and national identity.
On June 11, officers of the Financial Investigations Department (part of the State Control Committee) came to the head office of Belgazprombank. The department opened a criminal case under Art. 243-2 (large-scale tax evasion) and Art. 235-2 (legalisation of particularly large sums of money obtained through crime). Around 15 top managers and bank employees have been arrested as part of the case. Since June 15, the provisional administration has been in place in Belgazprombank in order to ‘protect the interests of depositors and creditors’, the Belarusian officials state. Viktar Babaryka called placing the bank under the state’s control ‘forcible takeover’.
On June 18, Viktar Babaryka and his son Eduard (head of his campaign office) were arrested and taken to the KGB prison; their house and flat were searched. According to official information, Viktar Babaryka is charged under Part 2 Article 235 (Legalization (“laundering”) of proceeds of crime), Part 2. 243 (tax evasion, causing damage on a large scale) and part 2 of Article 431 (repeated bribery on a large scale) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. Eduard Babaryka is charged under Part 2 Article 243 of the Criminal Code (Tax evasion on a large scale).
A week ago, Amnesty International recognised them as prisoners of conscience ‘persecuted solely for peaceful expression of their political views’.