30 Jun 2020 16:56

Minsk court declines appeal against prospective presidential candidate Babariko's arrest

MINSK. June 30 (Interfax) - The Central District Court in Minsk ruled on Tuesday to decline an appeal against the pretrial arrest of Viktor Babariko, who earlier declared his intention to run for president, lawyer Dmitry Layevsky said.

"The defense plans to appeal the court's resolution on Viktor Babariko's appeal with the Minsk City Court," the tut.by online news service quoted Layevsky as saying.

Babariko himself was not brought to the courthouse from the State Security Committee detention facility to attend the hearing, he said.

As the hearing was held behind closed doors and the lawyer signed a written pledge not to disclose information pertaining to the proceedings, he was unable to provide any details or the court's motives. The lawyer said only that the defense provided a substantial amount of reasons to uphold the appeal.

Babariko and his son Eduard were detained on June 18. The Belarusian State Control Committee said Babariko "was the direct organizer and mastermind of illegal activity." Contrary to procedure, lawyers were not allowed to visit Babariko or his son following their detention.

On June 19, Belarusian Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk said that the defendants in the Belgazprombank case "created a real threat to the national security interests of our country in the financial and other spheres."

Belarusian human rights activists recognized Babariko as a political prisoner the same day. The European Union demanded that he be freed.

According to Babariko's lawyer, he has been indicted. He did not say what charges were brought against his client, citing a written pledge not to disclose information related to the investigation. Eduard Babariko was indicted later.