2010 28/10
Зала паседжаньняў

Trial room

On 27.10.2010 Zhodzina town’s court started trial over Andrey Zubra who is charged with illegal distribution of independence press in Zhodzina and is facing to be administratively fined from 20 to 50 base amounts (700000-1750000 BYR).

The case was conducted by judge Grynkievich. Human right defender Aliaksiey Lapitsky was present at the court session.

In the beginning of the process the defendant A.Zubra made several applications but none of them were granted.

In particular, judge Grynkievich didn’t grant Andrey Zubra’s application about holding court in Belarusian language. The judge didn’t deny the possibility to hold the court in Belarusian but he referred to the fact that there were two state languages in the country and everybody understood Russian language and continued court session in Russian.

Human right activist and head of Belarusian Language Association (TBM) n.a. F.Skaryna Aliaksiey Lapitsky who was present at the trial wasn’t let introduce the defendant’s interests in court. Aliaksiey Lapitsky was eager to help as a member of TBM and adherent of aims and goals of the organization which are to spread Belarusian language in different life spheres including visual appearance of streets and distribution of publications in Belarusian language.

Two Zhodzina militia officers were witnesses at the court session. They told how they have arrested Andrey Zubra who’d carried a pack of independent edition “Tut i tsiapier” in the porch of dwelling house #10, Mir avenue, Zhodzina on 27.09.2010.

It came from their testimonies that the young man was behaving strangely to their opinion. He spoke “not in clear Belarusian language” and even suggested them to read a publication in Belarusian language which he was arrested for.

Militia officers had refused reading this publication. They assured the judge that this publication looked like “forbidden on our territory”. Their argument were as follows: “the publication was published in Belarusian and there were words “president” and “elections” which immediately showed some opposition implication”. At the same time the witnesses couldn’t tell the number of publications in defendant’s hands because they didn’t count them.

The trial ended almost in the end of the working day and will be continued this Friday, 29.10.2010 at 10-00.

Judge Grynkievich explained that he took a break because supposedly at the hew trial he will have to question more witnesses in the case.

Human right activist comments:

-The defendant’s party is sure that every citizen of Belarus, the country which signed International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has rights guaranteed by Constitution and this important international agreement such as right for freedom of distribution of information, freedom for expression of thoughts and ideas and freedom of opinion.

And this is very important for Belarusian-speaking Belarusians who live in Belarus and more and more feel discrimination atmosphere in their own country. Such people in particular in these conditions feel internal necessity to spread free information in Belarusian language because they understand that it encourages people’s interest in free mind and mother tongue.

Restriction of this established right for distribution of information according to ICCPR (art. 18, p.3; art.19, p.3, art.6) and Constitution of Republic of Belarus (art.23) can be accepted only on the background of law (clear, understandable, intelligible and predictable rules) and are necessary for:

1) respecting other people’s rights and reputation

2) national security, public order and health of people.

Moreover, persecution for opinions and ethnic and language factor is completely unacceptable. And coming from the fact that freedom of ideas is a right (art. 18 of ICCPR) which is referred to category “use cogens”, it can’t be cancelled or restricted even in case of martial law in the country.

Naturally, European Belarus before elections must be a warrantor of rights and freedoms for its citizens.

Considering the case described before, the administrative violation of A.Zubra looks artificial. Together with this it is artificially constructed on ideological stereotypes and restrictions which are used by administrative system of regime establishments of the country (its educatee – enforcement organs). Unfortunately, they don’t use logic of law and clear, predictable and transparent legality and legal order of civilized European country.

Ales Volny,

Belarusian Legal Portal


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