You are here

Jolan Viaud acquitted, released from Belarus' prison

The court in Belarus said Frenchman Jolan Viaud is not guilty of intention to move ammunition (one cartridge) across the border of Belarus. Viaud has been released from the Belarusian prison, where he spent several weeks.

The court handed down the decision 'through absence of a criminal act'. It is contrary to what the prosecution asked for: a fine of about $3,450 and a release.

SEE: What was Jolan Viaud accused of?

The court also ordered to destroy the cartridge in question.

Despite the circumstances, Jolan said he is not disappointed in Belarus. He thanked for support he received there.

HOT: Frenchman Jolan Viaud shares thoughts about Belarus after release

The Frenchman decided not to apply for moral compensation, despite quite hard conditions of life in jail.

The trial took place in Gomel. Jolan Viaud was detained at the Belarusian border when he was leaving for Ukraine. The Frenchman showed the customs officer a souvenir (a cartridge) that a friend from Poland gave him and asked whether he could proceed with it though the red corridor at the customs. Jolan said he thought the cartridge was fake, after which the Frenchman was detained for attempt to smuggle arms.

Judging by facts this was miscommunication, because Belarusian customs service workers confessed their level of English is 'shameful' (as one of the officers puts it). Witnesses during the proceedings gave different evidence. It was not clear whether a translator 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.

MORE: What does Jolan's family think about the accident and what did his lawyer say?

Photo: tut.by

Frenchman Jolan Viaud acquitted, released from Belarus' prison