Russia was surprised and puzzled by the statement of Prosecutor General of Belarus Grigori Vasilevich about Artem Breus and Igor Gaponov, Russian citizens, arrested in Minsk. This was reported by the adviser of the Russian Embassy in Belarus Vadim Gusev on January 28.
Russian side was surprised by the statement of the Attorney General that the investigation would still have to find out the fact of the Russian citizens’ participation in riot. Bewilderment was caused by the statement that a pause in the investigation of the Russian citizens’ case was due to the large number of detainees.
«Russian citizens have already been to the Belarusian prison for a month without showing them any proof of their guilt. And lack of such evidence by the Belarusian law enforcement agencies was confirmed by a regular meeting of members of the Russian consular service with their detained countrymen,» the diplomat said.
According to him, one of the detained Russians, Artem Breus, has recently been visited by representatives of the Belarusian investigative group. «During this conversation, Russian citizen was accused of allegedly being acquainted with some ex-candidates for presidency, as they allegedly claim. But Breus, in turn, denies any personal connection with them,» said Vadim Gusev.
Russian Embassy Requests to Change Preventive Measure against Russian Detainees
The Russian side is also surprised with the position of some Belarusian state authorities in the case of the arrested Russians. So, according to Vadim Gusev, embassy has received no official response from the Prosecutor General of Belarus to its request of January 14 to give the grounds and motives for the administrative arrest of the Russian citizens. «It is not clear why the Russian citizens are still languishing in jail without any proof, while some ex-candidates’ preventive measures have been changed into the recognizance not to leave the country,» said counselor of the embassy.
The diplomat also noted that law enforcement bodies of Belarus could at least change the preventive measure as the first step towards complete liberation of the Russian citizens. In particular, the lawyer of Artem Breus has already filed a petition to the investigative authorities to change his client’s preventive measure from detention to house arrest.
Furthermore, contrary to the existing Russian-Belarusian Consular Convention, the Russian Embassy received a notice with a long delay from Minsk City Executive Committee to apply a preventive measure in the form of detention to the Russian citizens. Meanwhile, the Russians were charged on January 5, «Vesti.»
Embassy of Russia Hopes for Early Release of Russians
«The Embassy is looking forward to the early release of the Russian citizens in connection with the lack of any evidence on the charges of committing illegal acts,» said Vadim Gusev.
As Telegraf previously reported, the citizens of Russia Artem Breus and Ivan Gaponov were arrested during mass demonstrations in Minsk on December 19. January 5 they were charged in a criminal case under Article 293 of the Criminal Code of Belarus, which is punishable by a 15-year-term of imprisonment. Besides, the Belarusian authorities have begun the procedure to refuse one of the two Russians in a residence permit in Belarus.
Prosecutor General of Belarus Grigori Vasilevich said on January 24 that prosecutors would check compliance of the investigation with the law before bringing the criminal case materials on the riots organization in Minsk on Election Day before the court.