CEC head becomes victim in ‘Tsikhanouski case’

The Investigative Committee has recognized Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chair of the Central Election Commission, as a victim of the criminal case against blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski, naviny.by website reports.

Lidziya Yarmoshyna said that she had testified at the Investigative Committee.

“I was called to the Investigative Committee to testify. It was shortly after the statement was filed, two weeks ago. I was declared a victim,” said Lidziya Yarmoshyna.

The Tsikhanovsky trial on July 1 in Hrodna. Photo: belsat.eu

Lidziya Yarmoshyna says that she was scared by the words of blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski, so she appealed to the law enforcement officials.

“I said the same thing that everyone has already heard — that Tsikhanouski threatened to come to my house without my consent, which is pressure and a threat to my safety,” said Lidziya Yarmoshyna.

The reason for the “Tsikhanouski case” was the incident, which took place on May 29 in Hrodna during the picket to collect signatures for Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya. One of the women present at the picket started provoking a conflict with Syarhei Tsikhanouski, who refused to answer her questions and wanted to stop talking. The police used this as an excuse to intervene, there was some shoving and pushing. As a result, one policeman fell down. The next day the Interior Ministry said that a criminal case of violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies had been initiated.

A total of 10 people were detained in the “Tsikhanouski case” and searched. On May 9, Investigation Committee reported that Syarhei Tsikhanousky and seven other people were charged under Part 1 Article 342 (organization and preparation of actions grossly violating public order) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. The actions of one of the defendants in the case are further qualified by the investigation under Article 364 (violence against police officers) of the Criminal Code, while another person is charged only under Article 364. All of them are in custody.

The human rights organizations of Belarus recognized Tsikhanouski as a political prisoner and demanded the release of the blogger. The European Union also called for the release of Tsikhanouski and his associates. The European Parliament has warned that new sanctions may be imposed on officials responsible for repression.