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24.10.2006

60-year-old Belarusian sentenced to two years for suggesting Lukashenko undergo a psychiatric examination

   

The Leninsky District Court in Minsk has found human rights activist Yekaterina Sadovskaya guilty of offending the honour and dignity of Aleksandr Lukashenko. For her demand that Lukashenko have a psychiatric examination, the 60-year-old woman has been sentenced to two years in a normal regime penal colony, the Belarusian service of Radio Svoboda reports. According to the court ruling Yekaterina Sadovskaya must also pay 4 million roubles in compensation to the judges of the Kirovsky District Court (Mohylevsk region).

Yekaterina Sadovskaya heads the Belarusian division of the Pskov regional civic movement “Veche”. The human rights activist has on many occasions organized pickets calling for adherence to human rights in Belarus. She has been present at trials, helped people who turn to her to assist them defend their rights in the prosecutor’s office and police. She has been arrested and fined on several occasions for her human rights activities.

Yekaterina Sadovskaya  was at first accused of having insulted and threatened a judge of the Kirovsky District Court.  The grounds for launching criminal processions were a recording from the judge’s answering machine. The voice on the tape insults the judge and mentions Sadovskaya’s name, the latter having defended Mr Smailov in a trial presided over by that judge. A letter with threats and curses which the judge received in the post was also attached to the case.

At the end of the investigation, In the end of investigative actions Yekaterina Sadovskaya  was charged with insulting Aleksandr Lukashenko’s honour and dignity. This was based on an appeal from the organization signed by Sadovskaya  on 21 January 21, 2006, in which she demanded that the President undergo a psychiatric examination, called for a boycott of the presidential elections and accused the Russian security service of supporting the Belarusian government.
The representative of the prosecutor’s office referred to the results of a linguistic assessment according to which the letter contained phrases insulting the Head of State. It transpired that Yekaterina Sadovskaya  had indeed written the letter, had no intention of denying this, but she had not had time to send it to anybody because of her arrest. The letter was found during a search of her home..
The prosecutor had called for a three-year sentence.

The 60-year-old woman with health problems cares for her 84-year old mother and her disabled husband
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