Financial Investigations Department decides not to prosecute former editor in chief of intellectual magazine Arche

In late March, the office’s inspector notified Mr. Pashkevich over the phone that that the decision to freeze Arche’s account had been reversed, and that there would be no criminal proceedings against Mr. Bulhakaw...

 

The authorities have abandoned their apparent intention to institute criminal proceedings against Valer Bulhakaw, a former editor in chief of the Belarusian-language intellectual magazine Arche.

BulhakawThe office of the Financial Investigations Department of the State Control Committee in Minsk and the Minsk region has provided written confirmation that Arche’s bank account has been unblocked and that no criminal case will be opened against Mr. Bulhakaw under the Criminal Code’s Article 243, which penalizes tax evasion, Ales Pashkevich, acting editor in chief of the magazine, told BelaPAN.

In late March, the office’s inspector notified Mr. Pashkevich over the phone that that the decision to freeze Arche’s account had been reversed, and that there would be no criminal proceedings against Mr. Bulhakaw.
The journalist, who fled Belarus in early November for fear of imprisonment, currently considers the possibility of returning to Belarus, Mr. Pashkevich said.

If the information ministry re-registers Arche, it will be able to publish its next issue, he said.

On March 15, the magazine filed a new, fourth application for re-registration and should receive a reply by April 15.

On September 14, 2014, Mr. Bulhakaw was arrested during a book-launch event in Hrodna. He was charged with illegal business activities for selling a book titled, Sovietization of Western Belarus, without a license and sentenced to a fine of 500,000 rubels ($58) a month later.

On September 21, the Financial Investigations Department started to audit the magazine's records and subsequently froze its bank account. Mr. Bulhakaw was subsequently relieved of his position to save the magazine.

At the end of October, television channel Belarus One broadcast a report accusing the magazine of extremism and Nazi propaganda