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Trade union leaders sentenced to restricted liberty terms in Belarus

Henadz Fyadynich and Ihar Komlik. Photo:​

A court in Minsk on 24 August pronounced the verdict in the case of Belarusian independent trade union leaders tried on charges of tax evasion. The union chairman Henadz Fyadynich and union accountant Ihar Komlik were sentenced to four years of 'restricted liberty.' Prosecutors had sought five years of 'restricted liberty' for each of the defendant. The two were found guilty of large-scale tax evasion.

Restricted liberty is a suspended custodial sentence with parole-like restrictions.

According to the investigation, the labor union leaders had a bank account in Lithuania, where they received monetary funds (140 000 euros and over 17 000 US dollars.)

The court also ruled that Fyadynich and Komlik pay over BYN47 000 ($23500) to the state to compensate the damages.

The case against the trade union leaders was opened in early August 2017, when the office of the REP trade union in Minsk and the headquarters of Belarusian Independent Trade Union in Salihorsk were searched by the law-enforcement. The agents seized computers and documents. Fyadynich and Komlik were detained. The former was shortly released but the latter spent two months behind bars for interrogations.