Father of Mikalai Dziadok: Judges Became Authorities’ Puppets

Aliaksandr Dziadok had been active in juridical branch for 18 years. When Mr. Dziadok resigned, his son Mikalaj happened to get to the prisoners’ box being one of the accused for so called “Minsk anarchists” case. Human rights defenders recognized him to be a political prisoner. Aliaksandr Dziadok agreed to tell Nasha Niva about Belarusian juridical system and about his son.

NN: You have resigned from the position of the judge of the Minsk regional court’s criminal panel in 2009. Why didn’t you stay?

Aliaksandr Dziadok is currently the head of legal and personnel department for one of Beltranshaz’s bodies. Worked as investigator, prosecutor, legal adviser. Mr. Dziadok was the Head of Hrodna regional court, a judge of the Minsk regional court’s criminal panel.

Aliaksandr Dziadok (next A.Dz.): I have always loved my job. But the judges became absolutely dependent, simply order executors. Sometimes they consulted the Heads of the courts not only on the Criminal code, but also the type of a penalty. It is nonsense!

Judges are afraid to decide themselves. They are made to lose this skill. Everything is ruled by the Heads of the courts, and they are controlled by the Presidential Administration. The clearer it became for me, the less I wanted to be someone’s puppet.

NN: Did this fear appear with political court cases?

A.Dz.: It is applied for all legal trials, not only the political ones.

NN: Do you remember any judge discharged for a “wrong” court decision?

A.Dz.: Well, no. The mechanisms are much more delicate. If there is a “wrong” decision taken, no administration will act such openly. The judges will be oppressed until they make a mistake or quit on their own.

NN: Blogger d-zholik wrote that 16 judges have already resigned in 2012, though only 11 judges did so in 2011. What can you say about these figures?

A.Dz.: I don’t want to comment them and accuracy of the data. We need to analyze every single case before jumping into conclusions as judges can resign because it’s time to. However, I know people who could still have worked in courts, but they were made to leave as they have some courage for independent decisions.

NN: Aliaksandr Shvied, Deputy Head of Investigating Committee, announced that the verdicts of not guilty increased from 217 to 382. What does it say about?

A.Dz.: From my experience I know that statistics may be very controversial and I don’t believe there became more verdicts of not guilty. This is, probably, Shvied’s and other investigating bodies’ statistic games. And now we have two of them: KGB and the Investigating Committee.

I think this is done to please the authorities with indicators. However, it is not the indicator of juridical authority power growth as every of these verdicts is agreed on at different levels, not necessarily within the court system.

NN: As an ex-judge, how would you comment on the case of your son?

A.Dz.: It was one of the politically-colored cases, a “cleansing” of social and political field.

A group of youths of different political views was arrested together with Mikalaj.

There were neither direct nor indirect evidences. Only testimonies of some two young men. Furthermore, one of them wasn’t present during the trial because, as it was put, no one knew where he was. His previous testimony was simply read at court.

The other witness admitted he was pressured by KGB and police in order to give “right” information.

NN: In spite of this your son was sentenced to quite a long term…

A.Dz.: The sentence is too severe. Mikalaj was found guilty of malicious hooliganism. It is very serious article of the Criminal Code. However, there were no such severe penalties for malicious hooliganism during my practice. I think the main reason for this is that my son hasn’t admitted guilt.

Those who slandered him remain unpunished in spite of their confession.

Mikalaj was a student of European Humanities Universities (an independent Belarusian university that was forced to leave Belarus. Now it operates in Vilnius, Lithuania. — ed.). As I was said by secret service officers, it became a one of the reasons for his arrest.

NN: Was Mikalaj’s repeated moving to and from isolation cell, his transfer to other penal colonies aimed to get an avowal of guilt?

A.Dz.: He was oppressed from the very beginning. When he refused to ask for a pardon, he began to be oppressed even more. He was punished for farfetched reasons for five times: deprived of visits, of parcels, put in an isolation cell.

He told me he must not confess things he hadn’t done.

NN: Is there a chance your son will get an early release?

A.Dz.: The Supreme Court has already deprived of parole.

Mikalaj was born in Charnobyl area, but the courts done everything to annul his status of Charnobyl-born. And this status was his chance for parole.

We must speak about political prisoners in Belarus. The more we speak the better.

I am sure it may stop some people from illegal actions.

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