Retaliation? Independent trade union leaders found guilty of tax evasion

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Затрыманні

Затрыманні каля суда, дзе лідараў незалежнага прафсаюзу РЭП пакаралі 4 гадамі «хатняй хіміі». Стрым

Publiée par «Белсат» sur Vendredi 24 août 2018

Henadz Fyadynich and Ihar Komlik, the leaders of the Independent Trade Union of Radio Electronic Industry (REP), have been found guilty of large scale tax evasion (Art. 243-2 of the Criminal Code of Belarus).

Maryna Fyodarava, a judge at Savetski district court of Minsk, has sentenced Fyadynich and Komlik to 4 years of restraint of liberty without sending them to a correctional institution.

Fyadynich and Komlik have been also prohibited from holding key positions in the next 5 years. They will have to cover losses (47,746 Belarusian rubles), as well as pay state and court fees.

After delivering the sentence, a number of activists unfurled a white-red-white flags near the courthouse. Former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich called for protesting at the building of the presidential administration.

Лідараў незалежнага прафсаюзу РЭП пакаралі 4 гадамі «хатняй хіміі»

Акцыя каля суда, дзе лідараў незалежнага прафсаюзу РЭП пакаралі 4 гадамі «хатняй хіміі». Стрым

Publiée par «Белсат» sur Vendredi 24 août 2018

“We will appeal against this stupid sentence, since it does not correspond to reality,” Fyadynich said.

The authorities will not prevent the trade union from working, Igor Komlik noted.

With the help of this sentence, the authorities show that they do not care about people. It is done to destroy the union, so that only pro-presidential state trade unions would remain in the country. But we will continue our activity, the REP will noy cease to exist,” Komlik said.

The trial started on July, 30. During the investigation period, which lasted almost a year, the Department of Financial Investigations interrogated about 800 witnesses in the case. At one of the first hearings, Union’s former secretary Yuliya Yukhnavets admitted to being a KGB agent and fulfilling their tasks.

Лідараў незалежнага прафсаюзу РЭП пакаралі 4 гадамі «хатняй хіміі». Стрым

Лідараў незалежнага прафсаюзу РЭП пакаралі 4 гадамі «хатняй хіміі». Стрым

Publiée par «Белсат» sur Vendredi 24 août 2018

In August 2017, the Minsk and Salihorsk offices of two key opposition trade unions were raided by the Department of Financial Investigations. Computers, hard drives were seized; the law enforcers were looking for documents. According to the investigation, trade union activists regularly traveled abroad to withdraw money from accounts in foreign accounts and bring them to Belarus.

A criminal case was initiated against the head of the Independent Trade Union of Radio Electronic Industry (REP) Henadz Fyadynich and chief accountant Ihar Komlik. Fyadynich was released on his own recognizance; Komlik spent 2 months in jail and walked free in October. However, the both still may face up to seven years in prison and confiscation of property.Komlik and Fyadynich keep pleading not guilty.

According to Henadz Fyadynich, the case initiated is nothing but retaliation for their civic activity during the 2017 ‘non-parasite’ protests. Human rights defenders and civil society of Belarus considers the case of Fyadynich and Komlik politically motivated.

“They want to block our work, to tame the union, to make us fulfil their orders. Unfortunately, the Investigative Committee or the authorities do not realise that such things taint the image of Belarus abroad,” Fyadynich told Belsat.

(UPD) The Minsk police have brutally detained former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich and seven activists who came to support the leaders of the REP independent trade union Henadz Fyadynich and Ihar Komlik.

belsat.eu

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