Oleg Vouchak: If we remain silent, we will all be named “spies”

Andrej Hajdukou is accused of “an encroachment on the constitutional system of the Republic of Belarus and interference in the direction of policy changes of the Republic of Belarus which is contrary to its national interests”

Additionally, the social activist is  accused of  “looking to obtain finances for his activities from the U.S. Embassy and called for the use of certain sanctions.” All these, and the fact that Hajdukou is tried behind closed doors, provides a basis to believe that the case is political. He told the website «Belarusian Partisan»  made an interview concerning Hajdukou’s case with Oleg Vouchak, the president of “Legal aid for citizens».

“After two weeks since the detention of Hajdukou we have learned that he was arrested because he had submitted a grant application  to the U.S. Embassy. Legal aid for citizens has announced that in Hajdukou’s case there are no ulterior economic motives or any espionage. This case has a political nature, designed to intimidate democracy activists “, – said Oleg Vouchak.

He noted that his organization believes Hajdukou is a political prisoner.

‘We have publicly declared that Andrej Hajdukou is a political prisoner, and two days after our declaration, seven other organizations  joined us,  including the Solidarity movement Razam. Hajdukou was an active member of the opposition. He was an activist of “European Belarus”. He took part in the election campaign of one of the democratic group of Novopolotsk. He participated in Andrei Sannikov’s presidential campaign in 2010. He is the vice chairman of the Association of Young Intellectuals. KGB has already  threatened him that they will finally curb his activity. The very fact that KGB  is dealing with the Hajdukou’s case and that the investigator had already marked his presence in political affairs, especially after the events of 19th December  2010, proves that this trial has purely political nature. The preliminary investigation was conducted in a one-sided, biased way and aimed at the recognition of the detainee as guilty. For eight months, a lawyer did not have access to the accused. The defender had to sign a confidentiality agreement, so that he could not reveal even the content of the prosecution. The nature of the charges were not revealed until the letter to Tatiana Sieviaryniec. The trial has not finished but the authorities has already announced he is guilty. Most importantly, there is hardly any information on Hajdukou, it only confirms the political nature of the case. He is fully isolated, and the public opinion is deprived of any details about his case. Before the trial started it was announced that it would be closed, but that the decision is entirely up to the court “, – said the human rights activist.

Oleg Vouchak noted that an open letter to Tatiana Sieviaryniec  is strange taking into account the fact that Hajdukou was isolated for 8 months. He stated that this case shows new ways to put pressure on the opposition.

“This is not an individual case, it is a signal to all democratic structures, working with foreign partners. It is possible that this is not the last case of espionage, there can be more such cases as we approach the presidential campaign. Hajdukou is accused only because he turned for help to the U.S. Embassy. And yet, applying for grants is not prohibited either in international or Belarusian legal system. He had the right to ask the embassy (it’s still to be checked whether he really applied for a grant) and the embassy may award a grant, which, according to Belarusian law, should then be reported to the Department of Charity Help. An imprisonment for sole intention – there have never ever been such case in Belarus. The historian, Alaksej Korolov said that it remainds him of the days when the members of intelligence was persecuted for the mere fact of thinking. “Legal assistance to citizens” believe that Hajdukou is in no any way encroached on the state system, there has to be some evidence to give rise to a suspicion of subversion. He did not have any contact with the state secrets, including the collection of data on the economic situation in enterprises. It is possible that a letter to Tatiana Sievaryniec is a deliberate move to examine public opinion and the reaction of the opposition in terms of a possible defense of Hajdukou, and also its potential passivity. Silence gives consent to the arrest, the defense may mean that the authorities will be obliged to change their actions.

Thus, today it is necessary to organize a widespread informative campaign among democratic activists on Hajdukou’s case. Belarusian organizations (environmental, economic, social, cultural) should understand that the presence of foreign partners in their activities could lead to similar consequences. Therefore, the court is working behind closed doors “, – said Oleg Vouchak.

Human rights activist pointed out that Belarus can follow Russia, and accuse the opposition members of spying for foreign countries.

“In this situation, we cannot be silent, or one day we will all be named “spies “. We must by all means fight for freedom of Hajdukou. I’m sure Hajdukou is considered a political prisoner by both the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and other organizations active in the field of human rights. Additionaly, the Amnesty International have to be asked to consider him a prisoner of conscience”, – said Oleg Vouchak.



Translation by Palitviazni.info


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