Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Viktar Babaryka charged in criminal case

Viktar Babaryka. Photo:
Viktar Babaryka. Photo:

On June 20, the detained presidential nominee and former CEO of Belgazprombank Viktar Babaryka, who is currently held in the KGB pre-trial prison, faced formal charges in a criminal case, his lawyer Dzmitry Layeuski told The counsel, however, refused to elaborate on the charges, citing a non-disclosure obligation.

On the same day, Babaryka’s campaign team applied to the Central Election Committee for his registration as a presidential candidate.

“Viktar Babaryka strongly disagrees with the accusation. The defense insists on his complete innocence,” the counsel said.

On June 19, Dzmitry Layeuski said that he was finally allowed to visit his client.

“He is outraged by the illegality of his detention and the lack of any grounds for it, as well as the violation of his right to legal assistance, because he demanded a lawyer from the moment of detention,” Layeuski said.

Viktar Babaryka and his son Eduard, who leads his presidential campaign, were detained on June 18. The men are now held in the KGB prison in Minsk. The lawyers could not access Viktar Babaryka on the day of detention. After the arrest, the ex-banker’s house and his son’s apartment were searched.

The official reason for the arrest is Babaryka’s alleged involvement in “organized crime”, including “attempts to influence witnesses” and “hiding the traces of earlier crimes”.