Belarusians convicted in Moscow for cough pills may be freed

A Moscow court on October 25 freed Piotr Zhdanovich, a Belarus national who was arrested during a provocation by the Russian law-enforcement agencies one year ago. Aliaksandr Chachurau and Syarhey Lahun, sentenced to 14 years in prison for bringing cough pills to Russia, may also walk out free next Monday. Piotr Zhdanovich spent over one year in a Russian jail. A Russian undercover agent pretended as a patient suffering from cough and asked the Belarusian to bring Tussal tablets which were openly sold in Belarus.

The young man was arrested and was facing from eight to twenty years in prison if convicted. After his lawyer filed an appeal, the court sent the case back to the prosecutor for more evidence. As a result, Zhdanovich yesterday received three years of suspended sentence.

Meanwhile, two residents of Baranavichy are still behind bars in a Russian prison. Aliaksandr Chachurau and Syarhey Lahun were sentenced earlier this year on the same charges of bringing Tussal pills to the neighboring country. On October 29, a Moscow court will hear the appeal filed by the Belarusians' lawyer Stanislav Markelov.

The lawyer told the European Radio for Belarus that he hopes that the Belarusians will be freed. However, he would not insist it would happen definitely.