Aid to the family of Alexei Patsko, a former judge who refused to try innocent people

  • Story

“I, Patsko Alexei Vasilyevich, am a former judge of the Pinsk district court and the city of Pinsk.
My story began on Sunday, August 09, 2020, that is, on election day, I was at my workplace in the court of the Pinsk district and the city of Pinsk. The leadership of the Brest Regional Court felt that there should be a judge in the court. Also, the acting head of the court and his deputy were at the court. According to the schedule of administrative cases, August 10 was the day when I had to consider all the administrative materials received on that date. 

Sometime near lunchtime, the acting chairman called me in and told me that the police had brought administrative files on the people detained on August 8, who, according to the police, could potentially cause problems on Election Day.
The acting chairman told me that I would have to review those files in the morning of 10 August and give everyone 15 days in jail, and he also asked me if there were any flaws in those files that could be a reason to return them to the police so that the police could fix them if necessary.
After reviewing the materials, which were drawn up under various articles of the Administrative Offences Code, I realized that the prosecution of the persons on whom the reports were drawn up were absolutely politically motivated and the proposed way of handling them had nothing to do with justice.
In the course of the conversation, I told the Acting Chairman that I would not consider these materials in the way proposed to me, namely to write a day without actually conducting the proceedings.

He suggested I think about it and not to get too excited. I was given time to think about it until the next morning. The next morning I repeated the same thing to him. And on the same day one of my colleagues, after reviewing the administrative materials mentioned above, gave everyone a 15-day detention.
The next morning everyone knew about the night events, which are now called “Pinsk massacre”. However, the information was extremely contradictory and nothing was really clear. One thing was clear: there were about 80 detainees in the TDF and something had to be done with them. 
On August 10-11 more detainees were added, because police officers were conducting a special operation in the city.

On August 12, I was once again offered to participate in the consideration of administrative cases against detainees, and once again I refused.
During this period, from August 10 to 12 the acting head and deputy head repeatedly tried to convince me of the correctness of the actions of the police and the need to convict citizens detained near the Pinsk Executive Committee to administrative detention. In the course of their persuasion they repeatedly hinted at the possible consequences, both for me personally, my family and for them.  They also told me that I could refuse to participate in the conviction, but for security reasons I had to keep quiet about it and not say anything.

To all these conversations I informed them that I was not holding on to my position and was ready to leave my job at any time, but that I did not intend to participate in administrative cases and in illegal convictions of citizens. During August 12-13, 2020 three of my colleagues under the direction of the acting chairman of the court in the conveyor mode considered all the detainees and overwhelmingly gave people administrative arrests. After that, I was completely isolated from political cases and all information about them. I dealt with domestic conflicts and minor criminal cases.

In October 2020 I was dismissed from my position, after which I gave an interview to the Belarusian media.
After that the management was very offended.
And all possibilities of further employment were closed for me.
I applied to different organizations and everywhere I was told that there were no vacancies, but in private conversations I was told that it had to do with my position.
 My acquaintances told me that there was a verbal order from Brest not to hire me.
After I was dismissed I provided legal assistance to people who were persecuted for political reasons, wrote complaints, helped them to find a lawyer, gave advice on how to conduct themselves in court. My mother also helped me with that. During this period we helped activists, journalists and ordinary citizens.

Due to the lack of other options, we decided to become a paralegal for my mother. In the first days of May I officially got a job as an assistant to my mother. Literally a few days after the official employment came to us from tax inspection. They started accusing me of illegal entrepreneurial activities and tax evasion.
In May 2021 the tax inspectors started to visit my acquaintances and to ask them when and what kind of legal or other kind of assistance I had given them. The latters didn't tell them anything and on the next day they were summoned to the KGB. Where they were persuaded by threats to give the testimony they needed against me, which was later taken away by the officers of the Tax Inspectorate. At the same time my well-wishers told me that at my place of work they were confiscating criminal cases that I had previously considered. 

Understanding where all this was going, I urgently left for Kyiv.
A few days after my departure my apartment in Pinsk and my mother's office were searched and all the equipment was confiscated. The searches were carried out as part of a criminal case that was brought against me.
After the seizure of equipment my mother was forcibly taken to the prosecutor's office, where she was questioned. The interrogation lasted about 5-6 hours and was interrogated by deputy prosecutor Borchuk. First of all he was interested in where I was and when I left. He also asked about my professional activities. The very next day she was warned that a criminal case had been brought against her. After that my mother had to leave Belarus in a hurry. Later, I took my whole family out of Belarus: my wife and three children. 

However, the police and prosecutors did not leave my other relatives alone. They came to their homes and workplaces, summoned them for talks to the police department, searched their homes, and confiscated their equipment.

 We didn't prepare for our departure — it was an emergency, so we left literally in whatever we were wearing. 
Our family of 3 adults and 3 children had to start life anew in a new country. ”

How much is needed?

5 000 € — For 6 months:
 — for rent and utilities — 2,000;
 — for the purchase of cell phones and a laptop for work — 1000;
 — for food for the family — 1000;
-For the packing of children for school, the purchase of clothing, shoes and purchase of medicines — 1000.

The collection is over. Сollected:
€ 5 001
The collection is over. Сollected: € 5 001