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Belarusian Activist May Face Additional Charges


Mikhas Bashura (file photo)

Mikhas Bashura (file photo)

A fraud case against Belarusian rights activist Mikhas Bashura has been suspended due to possible new charges against him, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Attorney Halina Korneva asked the presiding judge to suspend hearings in the case because of evidence that might result in new charges against Bashura.

Judge Kiryl Palulekh suspended the trial until October 18.

Korneva did not give any details about the possible new charges.

Bashura's lawyer, Tamara Sidarenka, said that the new charges would probably be more serious than the original ones. She said if they were less serious, the hearings would probably not have been suspended.

Bashura, 35, is an active member of the "Tell the Truth" campaign.

He was arrested and charged with fraud in August. Minsk officials say he lied to a bank about his income in 2008 when helping his wife get a mortgage. He pleaded not guilty, saying inaccurate information regarding his monthly earnings was an unintentional error.

"Tell the Truth" officials say Bashura's case is politically motivated and connected with his participation in the campaign.

The "Tell the Truth" campaign is organized by the Moving Forward movement, which is led by writer and civic activist Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, a former chairman of the Union of Belarusian Writers. It encourages Belarusians to speak out about social problems.

The Moving Forward movement was stripped of its registration by a Minsk court on October 12 at the request of the city authorities.

Nyaklyaeu earlier this month announced his candidacy for a presidential election scheduled for December 19.
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