The trial in the Rabochy Rukh case, in which ten political prisoners are involved, has been taking place since 9 November in the Gomel Regional Court. The political prisoners face up to 15 years of imprisonment.
Siarhei Shelest, Uladzimir Zhurauka, Andrei Paheryla, Hanna Ablab, Aliaksandr Hashnikau, Siarhei Dziuba, Ihar Mints, Valiantsin Tseranevich, Siarhei Shametska and Aliaksandr Kapshul are on the bench of the court. Six of them are members of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union, which was liquidated by the regime in July this year.
All involved are accused of "high treason" (part 1 of article 356 of the Criminal Code) and "creation of extremist organization" (part 3 of article 361-1 of the Criminal Code). Kapshul additionally appears in the case of "illegal actions with firearms" (part 2 of article 295 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus). Shelest, Zhurauka and Paheryla are additionally charged with "slander" (Article 188 of the Criminal Code).
Political prisoners face up to 15 years in prison. The trial is led by judge Aleksandr Piskunov. Earlier, all ten defendants pleaded not guilty to treason.
The court examined the case materials and questioned the victims and witnesses. The political prisoners were also to have been interrogated, but all of them refused to testify, Viasna writes. That is why their former testimony, given during the KGB investigation, is now heard in court. The interrogations recorded on video are shown in the courtroom.
On December 27, the court in the case of the "Rabochy Rukh" was closed until the verdict was passed, writes "Viasna".
Rabochy Rukh was established in 2020. It brought together Belarusian workers, including leaders and activists of the 2020 strikes. The case of the "Workers' movement" was handled by the KGB. The reason for its creation was attempts to organize a strike at large industrial enterprises.