Frenchman Viaud may be fined and released from Belarusian prison

Frenchman Viaud may be fined and released from Belarusian prison

The prosecutor finds it proved that Frenchman Jolan Viaud had the intention to move ammunition (one cartridge) across the border of the Customs Union and his guilt under articles 295 and 333, note 1 is proved.

At the same time, the prosecutor asked the court to exclude from the charge the wording "illegal acquisition", and formulate the charge of "illegal movement of ammunition across the border" as "moving across the customs border of the Eurasian Economic Union". The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union grouping Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

The prosecution wants the French to be fined 300 base amounts (about $3,450, each base amount equals BYN23) and freed right in the courtroom.

SEE: What is the Frenchman accused of?

The trial is taking place in Gomel. Jolan Viaud was detained at the Belarus border when he was leaving for Ukraine. The Frenchman showed the customs officer a souvenir that a friend from Poland gave him. That was a 'fake' cartridge, after which the Frenchman was detained for attempt to smuggle arms.

Judging by facts this was miscommunication, because both Belarusian customs service and border guards confessed their level of English is 'shameful' (as one of the officers puts it). Witnesses gave different evidence during the proceedings. It was not clear whether an interpreter was present when Jolan was arrested. Two workers of an insurance company, who work at the border crossing point where the Frenchman was detained, were invited to give evidence. A video was shown proving that it was Viaud's initiative to show the cartridge to the customs service.

The sentence is expected to be voiced only on Monday November 20.


What Jolan Viaud's family think about the accident and what his lawyer says: Trial day 1