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Police Question Colleague Of Arrested Belarus Activist

Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski

Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski

MAHILEU, Belarus -- An activist with a Belarusian rights group whose chairman was arrested for alleged tax evasion has been questioned by police in connection with the case, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Alyaksey Kolchyn, from the Vyasna (Spring) human rights center in the eastern city of Mahileu, was questioned on September 22 at the department for financial investigations and state control,

Vyasna's chairman, Ales Byalyatski, was arrested on August 4 and later charged with tax evasion in a case that drew widespread international condemnation. If found guilty, he faces up to seven years in jail.

Kolchyn told RFE/RL that he is unable to disclose all the information about his questioning, as he signed a document promising not to do so. But Kolchyn said he refused to answer most of the questions, as they were mainly about him.

"I availed myself of the right not to testify against myself that is guaranteed by Article 27 of the Belarusian Constitution," Kolchyn said.

Byalyatski and his colleagues say the case against him is politically motivated. Vyasna had been circulating reports on the Belarusian authorities' crackdown on peaceful protests.

Read more in Belarusian here