Ruling of the Minsk Region Court on returning Ivan Mikhailau guilty of “evading the draft to the army” has been vacated. Mikhailau will be released under a written cognizance not to leave the country.
Today, on March 09, 2010 it came to public knowledge
that a Chamber of the Judges of Minsk Oblast Court considered a cassation appeal of Ivan Mikhailau who was convicted guilty of a criminal offence under Art 435.1 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“Evading activities of the draft to the army”) by Minsk Regional Court on February 1, 2010. The court of superior jurisdiction vacated the decision of the Minsk Region Court (regarding applying a punishment towards Mikhailau in form of a 3-months’ arrest), the restraint was changed to a written cognizance not to leave the country up till the new consideration of the case takes place.
Ivan Mikhailau – a parishioner of Messianic Jews
community “New Testament” and the oldest son in a family with many children – refused military service upon his religious beliefs and demanded assignment of alternative (civil) service to him, which goes along with provisions of Art. 57 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
However, despite the demands that his
Constitutional right should be respected, on December 15, 2009 Mikhailau was arrested and since that time remained in Zhodzina pre-trial prison.
A range of Belarusian and international human
rights organizations and civil activists expressed protest in connection with the arrest of Ivan Mikhailau and submitted public appeals and open letters to the supreme bodies of Belarusian state authorities with a demand to set Mikhailau free. A campaign was organized on collecting signatures in support of Mikhailau – 120 actors from 9 countries participated in it.
On February 2, 2010, Ivan Mikhailau was
considered a prisoner of conscience by “Amnesty International”.
Term of arrest for Ivan Mikhailau was to end on
March 15, 2010. A date of the new court trial will be announced additionally.
Monitoring group of thePublic Campaign “For Alternative Civilian Service in Belarus”