Belarusian human rights activist: same dubious charge, only longer sentence


Aleh Vouchak has once again been imprisoned over supposedly using foul language in public, this time for 9 days. The Belarusian Service of the Radio Svoboda reports his fellow activist Raisa Mikhailovskaya as saying that the police arrested Aleh Vouchak on 24 May outside his own office when he was speaking with a colleague,  Zmitser Kukhley, who says that Mr Vouchak did not use any foul language.

He has nonetheless been jailed for 9 days. 

In January Mr Vouchak was jailed for 4 days on a charge of “petty hooliganism”. The claim then was that he had been swearing and waving his arms about in public. His request to have the detention protocol read out was denied as was the application to video the court hearing.

Aleh Vouchak is a veteran of the Soviet Afghanistan War and later worked as an investigator in the Minsk Prosecutor’s Office.

He has been involved in human rights work since 1990, and has actively helped many political prisoners including Alexander Kazulin and Nikolai Avtukhovych.

His activities have on many occasions prompted venomous attacks by the Lukashenko-controlled media. His legal aid organization was stripped of its registration in 2003.  An appeal over the dissolution of the organization (Legal Aid for the Public) is under consideration in the UN Human Rights Committee. 

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