The essence of the criminal re-trial investigation: on May 29, 2022, the media resource Nasha Niva published an article with an interview of a former Belarusian enforcer, Ihar Makar, in which he, together with Nasha Niva, accused the human rights defender, Olga Karach, of conspiring to commit a murder. According to them, on December 20, 2020, Olga Karach allegedly ordered assassination of Andrej Stryzhak, the founder of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated foundation BYSOL, which allegedly should have been executed by Pavel Kulazhanka, a fighter of Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment.
On August 29, 2022, the police of Lithuania opened a pre-trial proceeding in criminal case under Article 154 Part 2 of the Criminal Code of Lithuania. According to that article, the former Belarusian enforcer, Ihar Makar, and the editor of the mass media resource, Anastasiya Rouda (Nastassia Rouda), are facing up to 2 years of imprisonment in a Lithuanian jail for defamation in the mass media of a human rights defender, Olga Karach.
In addition, Ihar Makar recorded a video, in which he threatened Olga Karach with physical violence and murder. For that reason, the police are conducting a pre-trial investigation also into the threats of physical violence and murder under Article 145 Part 1 of the Criminal Code of Lithuania.
Both the criminal articles were united into one case.
We’d like to point out, that in three years passed since the alleged conspiracy to commit an assassination, there has never been any fact of attempted murder of Andrej Stryzhak neither by Olga Karach, nor by Pavel Kulazhanka.
The article appeared just a few days after the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment had publicly accused Andrej Stryzhak of corruption and demonstrated 8 helmets they had received from Andrej Stryzhak instead of the promised 60 ones. At the moment, Pavel Kulazhanka was one of the most famous fighters of Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment. The article of the affiliated media Nasha Niva aimed at discrediting the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment and the Human rights center Our House, as one of the leading human rights organizations of Belarus providing help and assistance to Belarusian refugees.
In two years that passed between the alleged conspiracy to commit the crime of murder and the publication of the article in Nasha Niva, Ihar Makar has never turned neither to the police nor to any other authority on that regard, and has made no attempt to warn Andrej Stryzhak about the supposed crime allegedly planned against him.
In May, 2023, the Lithuanian police attempted to close the case, but Olga Karach complained to the Prosecutor General of Lithuania, who admitted validity of her claims and groundlessness of the attempts of the Lithuanian police to close the pre-trial investigation.
The Prosecutor General of Lithuania obliged the Lithuanian police to reopen the pre-trial investigation and to examine all the materials of the criminal case, including those that the police attempted to ignore.
We are waiting for the results of the investigation conducted by the police of Lithuania and hope for the case to be transferred to the Lithuanian court.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed for our victory!