Kozulin refuses to examine court proceeding minutes

Convicted politician Aleksandr Kozulin has refused to examine the minutes of the court proceedings against him...

Aleksandr KozulinConvicted politician Aleksandr Kozulin has refused to examine the minutes of the court proceedings against him, which the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk allowed him to study during a period of four days.

His defense team petitioned the court to provide copies of the minutes, but the latter replied that it could only give the original papers for a limited period of time, according to Dr. Kozulin's lawyer, Igor Rynkevich.

"Dr. Kozulin and I cannot study the material simultaneously as I can see them in the court only, whereas Dr. Kozulin in the detention center," the lawyer said.

Dr. Kozulin reportedly said that the court's move was evidence of arbitrary judicial power in the country.

"Judiciary showed once again that it acts by order, not in accordance with the law. So I refuse to study the minutes of the court proceedings... I am not a robot to manage to copy the minutes during such a short period of time by hand," Mr. Rynkevich quoted his client as saying.

The defense also requested the court to provide copies of recorded material that was submitted as evidence in the proceedings.

The court's reply, signed by Deputy Chairwoman Tamara Vnukevich, said that "there are no grounds for the provision" of such copies.

According to the defense team, the videotapes featured offenses committed by officers of the Interior Troops' special task unit, including their chief Dmitry Pavlichenko, during an opposition demonstration on March 25.

Dr. Kozulin, 50, rector of Belarusian State University between 1996 and 2003, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison at the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk on July 13.

The former presidential candidate was found guilty of hooliganism and the organization of group actions disturbing the public peace. The latter charge was brought in connection with the March 25 demonstration that ended in violence, with Almaz riot police officers beating protestors with truncheons.

The European Union and the United States denounced the trial as clearly politically motivated. //BelaPAN