The founder of the Belarusian “Press Club” Yulia Slutskaya is still in jail on Valadarski Street in Minsk. She was detained at the airport on December 22. On December 31, she was accused of large scale tax evasion. Through a lawyer, Yulia Slutskaya was able to give an interview to TUT.BY, in which she spoke about the conditions of detention and some circumstances of the case.
Yulia Slutskaya understood that she was being detained “by the eyes of the customs officer who expressed her condolences.” On December 22, Yulia flew from vacation to Minsk where she was told to undergo an additional examination. But in the end, employees of the State Control Committee arrived at the airport to get her. Then the searches and interrogations began. On the second day of her detention, Yulia Slutskaya was transferred to detention center No. 1 on Valadarski street. There are seven people in the cell together with Yulia, three of whom are charged under “political” articles.
“One woman was detained in the “Tsikhanouski case”, the second girl is a student activist, the third is a volunteer. One of the neighbors was in jail for drugs, another – for theft. In general, I think I got lucky with my cellmates,” lawyer Siarhey Lepesh recounts the words of Yulia Slutskaya.
According to the lawyer, Yulia feels fine. She exercises three times a day, reads a lot. She knows nothing about what is happening to the other detained employees of the Press Club, and she is very worried about her son. Pyotr Slutsky was also detained on December 22. Since that moment, no investigative actions have been carried out with him.
So far the founder of the Belarusian “Press Club” has not been shown documents confirming the amount of unpaid taxes, the grounds on which the “Press Club” was to pay them in a larger volume have not been announced. Yulia Slutskaya was also told that the tax evasion case concerns a “public television project” that was allegedly created by former journalists of state television channels.
“The Academy of the “Press Club” indeed held a hackathon of media projects. There were more than 30 applications. A jury consisting of media experts and investors selected seven projects that were included in the incubator project. They were aimed at different age groups and target groups, and had nothing to do with politics. One of the winners was a video project, but it has nothing to do with television,” the lawyer reports Yulia Slutskaya as saying.
According to the lawyer, Yulia Slutskaya believes that she was detained precisely because of her professional activities.
As of today, it is also known that the relatives of the detainees have transferred 109,769 Belarusian rubles to the account of the Investigative Committee. This amount, according to the investigators, is the unpaid taxes of the “Press Club”.
Alyaksandra Slutskaya, Yulia’s daughter, told Belsat that this amount had been announced by the Investigative Committee.
“We in no way consider this payment to be compensation for damages. We, the relatives of the detainees, took such a step so that later the lawyers could apply for a change in the preventive measure for the detainees. It is important to emphasize that we do not admit the guilt of the detainees and do not compensate for the damages that the Investigative Committee allegedly discovered, but the funds were paid as possible damage. A total of 109,769 rubles and 58 kopecks are mentioned in the case,” Alyaksandra told Belsat.