Our colleague Valery Kalinowski covered several processes from ships for Square. He shares his impressions of the conditions under which the process is over Andrei Sannikov and four other members of the protests on December 19.
Znatkevich: Under what conditions is this process? Yesterday it was reported that the judge proposed to continue the meeting until ten at night, despite the fact that the defendants in the morning until the evening, and so in the courtroom, no food …
Kalinowski: I must say that this was an exceptional case yesterday, when a judge for some ridiculous reasons wanted to continue the process after 18.00. In addition, all trials ended at six, and the judge behaved more or less correctly. Let's hope that this case was no exception.
Znatkevich: And what she explained the need to continue meeting until 22.00?
Kalinowski: She said that if the big screen and the player, where you can see the wheels — it can not keep them for a long time in this area. But today, for example, the whole day, this technique was out of work for today considered the testimony of victims and witnesses. Therefore, it seems that is no reason she had not.
Znatkevich: But on other days, in any case, the defendants do not have the opportunity to eat at lunch time?
KalinowskiNo, they can not eat at lunch, though it is always given some time. Protesting mother of the defendants, their relatives, requiring that food imported from Akrestsin with Volodarskogo. But people are actually starving, and Andrei Sannikov said yesterday that he could not continue to participate in the process, because he is hungry — from six in the morning did not eat. They also do not have the possibility to go for a walk, which usually have the prisoners in jail, unable to get a shower. And when they come back from the court very late, they may not have dinner.
Znatkevich: From your experience in litigation — whether it's typical that people are not able even to eat?
Kalinowski: It always happens, such a Belarusian law-enforcement system. It seems that it protects the rights of someone else, and not the people who can actually rely on the state. Do not feed anywhere and very mistreated by those who sit behind bars.
Znatkevich: There have also been complaints that during this litigation is very stuffy in the rooms do not have enough air.
Kalinowski: I can confirm that, in the hall where the court Sannikov and four other political prisoners, really very hot, very rarely open those windows. Especially the stifling afternoon, as this sunny side of the House of Justice. And all the while, the mother Lyudmila Mirzayanava requests to open these windows, the guards say they are not related to the building, and judicial administrators constantly forget to open those windows. I have to constantly demand that the open windows, so people are not melted. Thank God, the last few days some cool, is not so hard to bear this stuffy.
Znatkevich: The previous trials of members of the post-election protests lasted only a couple of days. And that — for a week. He somehow different from previous processes?
Kalinowski: Of course, it's a very different process, it looks more "abgruntavantym", each time the process is finished, the judge shows that it seems to be "neutral", sometimes satisfied petition on either side, not in a hurry … The reason for this is that the article, in which the accused is one of those who sit on the dock — "organizing mass disorder" — provides for up to 15 years in prison that the dock — the first presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, that up to now process a lot of attention of the international human rights community, society. Apparently, the authorities are trying to pretend to show that they are legally considered the case. So here the conditions are more "comfortable." In previous courts — over the "regular" members area — as a journalist I sometimes do not have the opportunity to go to the toilet, as the judge conducted the meeting from 14.00 to 20.00, ending sometimes at 21.00, and the ratio of the participants of the process were more stringent.
Znatkevich: In the past there was information about the pressure on lawyers who were supposed to protect the participants in these processes. How do the lawyers in this process?
Kalinowski: I only have the best words about the activities of the six lawyers working on this process, they are very carefully, very carefully pay attention to every detail, is visiting with some motions, following the process, protect their clients as they can. I'm just fascinated by their hands the ability to work in difficult conditions, in the very stifling atmosphere in the tedious process when those same police or traffic police give almost the same indications — but the lawyers are able to stop them in time, make a point to see some rational grain, which shows that those are wrong and confused in his testimony. I believe that the family of these people have made a very good choice, calling such lawyers.
Znatkevich: Virtually all participants in the trials against the post-election protests — those witnesses. But prosecutors also go from one process to another?
KalinowskiYes, there are such examples. At least one of the ships I saw the prosecutor of the previous one. As far as the prosecutor in the trial against Sannikov and four — he was very young, I will not say that a skilled, sometimes even looks weak in comparison to the prosecutor the serious lawyers who are against it competition. Well, but look, that in the end the young prosecutor has the strong support of the judge.
Znatkevich: So, it seems that the judge better respond to any suggestions for the prosecution than for offers of protection?
Kalinowski: The first days of the judge was trying to pretend to be objective and vzvazhanasts, but now it is almost certainly approve the application of the prosecutor and only about half of the lawyer.
Znatkevich: Watching this process, can you see that it is the same scenario as the previous ones, and the fact that the conviction is already predetermined? Or there may be some surprises?
Kalinowski: It surprises I could include, for example, the evidence of a witness for the defense of Peter Heap, who photographed the area after dispersal of demonstrators and testified that the materials of the case that there were different ledaruby and cans of flammable liquid, in fact fraudulent. To affect such a sensational revelation? To affect the efforts of lawyers, protection of the defendants in the court's decision? Frankly, there are very serious doubts, not only for me, but for all those who are watching this process, as the Belarusian judicial system has a very strong reputation penal system, dependent on the executive.