Aleh Volchek is a human rights activist and president of the organization Legal Aid for Society. From 1998 till today, he is a member of the Central Committee of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada).
Born in Minsk on 2 August 1967. From 1985 to 1988 he served in the army of border guards on the Tajik-Afghan border, as well as in Afghanistan. After returning to Minsk he graduated from the Faculty of Law at the Belarusian State University and began working in the Prosecutor’s Office in Minsk as a senior investigator (1994-1998). In 1995 he was elected a deputy to the Minsk City Council, becoming the head of the committee of justice.
In May 1998 Aleh Volchek resigned from the prosecutor’s office because he did not accept the use of persecution against the political opposition. After few months he created the public organization Legal Aid for Society, which provided free legal assistance and represented the interests of ordinary citizens before the courts.
In 1999 Aleh Volchek became the head of the social committee for clarifying the circumstances of the disappearance of the former Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus, Yuri Zakharenko. The results of the investigation committee were submitted to the prosecutor’s office. Since that time Aleh Volchek is the official representative of the interests of the family of Zakharenko in Belarus.
In September 2003 Legal Aid for Society was closed down by the authorities. Soon after, Aleh Volchek along with other lawyers founded the foundation Welfare, which provided legal assistance to people in need. In 2007, the foundation was liquidated by a court decision. Two years later, in 2009, lawyers were able to establish once again Legal Aid for Society by registering it as a human rights organizations in Ukraine.
In 2005 AlehVolchek became one of the founders of an association of veterans Defender of Fatherland. Since 2008 Aleh Volchek is a member of the organizing committee of the association, its task is to defend the rights of the veterans who took part in the wars of the former Soviet Union.
Aleh Volchek received many awards. Among others, the award of the Supreme Council of the USSR (1988), Award on the occasion of the “Day of the Defender” awarded by the International League for Human Rights for activities in the area of human rights (1999). He is an honorary citizen of the cities Pensacola (USA) and Radebeul (Germany).
Chronicle of repression
The first case against AlehVolchek was initiated in 1999 after the rally “Last day of President Lukashenko.” After the rally were detained about 15 people, including the deputy Znavec and the former prime minister Chigir. The militia used the gas, and Aleh Volchek, along with other detainees were transported to the detention center of the Interior Ministry in Minsk. There he was beaten to unconsciousness. The medical help was not called and Aleh Volchek laid unconscious on the floor for three hours.
He was taken to the hospital but at night he was again placed in his cell. The next day there was opened another criminal case against Volchek as he was suspected of beating a militiaman. He was not presented with a bill of indictment, however, he was interrogated several times. The case was discontinued for lack of evidence. He was refused to initiate a criminal case against those involved in beating him.
In 2004 Aleh Volchek was a candidate for the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus. The leaflets were anonymously forged, and on this basis he was accused of slandering the name of President Lukashenko. On 1 February 2005 a criminal case was initiated against him. The case was quickly dismissed, however, Vouchak was deprived of the right to take part in the election.
In 2006 Aleh Volchek, together with the presidential candidate Aliaksandr Kazulin was accused of beating a militiaman in plain clothes, officer Jakimovich. Militia used tear gas against a group of Kazulin’s supporters. However, no one was held accountable. Proceedings against opposition members were led by the prosecutor Mr. Stuk.
In the year 2007, Volchek was collecting signatures under protest against cancelation of privileges for veterans. He received a lot of emails with threats. Criminal case at the request of Aleh Volchek was initiated, yet the perpetrators were not found.
In 2012, he was twice arrested and detained in the notorious Okrestina prison. Each time he was imprisoned on the basis of fabricated evidence.