Prosecutor demands five year imprisonment for oppositionist in Brest
12:48, — Politics
The courts proceedings against Vital Koush are approaching their final stages. He is being accused of ¨assisting illegal migration¨.
From the indictment it follows that in May last year Vital Koush attempted to held eight citizens of India to illegally cross the Belarusian-Polish border with the use of rope over the barbed wire.
In the meanwhile, a charter97.org correspondent reports, that the prosecution side could not even state the surnames of the Hindus correctly, who were detained at the border and kept in a pre-trial jail for several months. As the result, there was a necessity to take a break in the court’s proceedings against Vital Koush in order to put the documents in order and change the formulation of the accusation.
After the proceedings were resumed, the judge of the Brest district’s court Mikalai Sianko refused to attach the videos of the Hindus’ statements to the case. After being deported from Belarus they claimed that they were made to slander against unknown people under the threat of violence. In particular, the citizens of India were taken to a house (where Koush’s family lives) during an investigative experiment and forced to point at the building with their hands. Later such testimonies were included in the indictment.
Multiple mismatches in this case did not prevent the prosecutor Mikhail Bulyhin to demand five years of imprisonment with the confiscation of property for the civic activist at another court’s session. The lawyer Pavel Alesik appeals to find Vital Koush innocent, pointing at the contradictions in the investigation’s materials. The last plea of the defendant, who does not acknowledge himself guilty, is scheduled for 12 March. Then the date of the verdict announcement will be known as well.
Vital Koush was detained in September 2012 with the use of force near his house by unidentified people in mufti with his family witnessing the detention. The relatives could not acquire any information of his location for several days, until they found out that Vital was being kept in a pre-trial jail. Regardless the fact that Koush is the father of two underage children, the multiple motions for changing the measure of restraint were denied by the court.
Vital used to be a BPF member, took an active part in various civic and political campaigns, including as an observer of the presidential elections. His comrades do not rule out that the authorities deliberately initiated such a court’s proceeding in order to discredit the Belarusian opposition. Even before the announcement of the verdict there was a number of publications and articles in the state-owned media in which Vital Koush was named an accomplice of illegal migrants and his participations in the democratic movement in Brest region mentioned. This fact also supports the discretization assumption.