2011 09/10
Аляксей Лапіцкі, Жодзіна

Aliaxey Lapitsky, Zhodzina

On 07.10.2011 from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m. in Zhodzina city court a preliminary hearing presided over by Judge Tatsiana Tratsiuk was held on the appeal of Aliaxey Lapitsky and Sviatlana Lapitskaya about the unlawful actions (inaction) of the executive committee officials, who had violated the rights of Zhodzina citizens to hold a peaceful meeting in the form of picketing in support of imprisoned human rights defender Ales Bialiatsky.

The peaceful event, scheduled to take place on officially sanctioned place in the town recreation park on 8.22.2011 with up to 10 participants was prohibited. This was violation of the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On mass events in Belarus” and the officials realized it without giving specific reasons in the official response from the executive committee and with late notification of applicants about the negative decision only on 8.19.2011, three days before the planned date of picketing. The applicants’ attempts to determine specific reasons for the refusal, as well as to resolve the obvious misunderstanding by filing an additional urgent written statement and attending the Executive Committee led to further apparent violations of the rights of applicants, denial to explain the reasons for banning picketing, intimidation and putting administrative pressure by calling a militia officer to the office of A. Haretskaya, the head of the ideology department.

The court session of 10.07.2011 began at 11.05 a.m. with oral request of applicants to challenge the constitution of the court of the chairman of the hearing Tatsiana Tratsiuk, which was not granted. An oral of protest human rights defenders has been declared, because among other issues at the previous hearing the judge pointedly refused to conduct the trial in Belarusian language.

Later the judge granted the appeal and began to conduct the trial in the native language of applicants. She also agreed to call to the court for trial the head of the ideological department of the executive committee Alena Haretskaya and the policeman (S. Shcharbitsky), which was called by executive committee ideology official instead of answering the question of Aliaksey Lapitsky regarding the specific reasons of prohibiting the peaceful picketing.

There also questions have been solved about presenting documents which were requested by the applicants from the executive committee of Zhodino, communal service utilities, militia department and GTMO (Main territorial health department) in court, including specimens required for entering into contracts, price lists of these institutions to provide services during and after the mass events in the city.

Judge T. Tratsiuk did not satisfy the applicant’s request for a subpoena of the chairman of Zhodzina executive committee Mihal Omelyanchuk, who gave order № 262 on 15.08.2011 “On the prohibition of the mass gathering,” as well as deputy chairman of the executive committee of Zhodino, Yuri Shary, who signed the ban and response for an additional appeal of 19.10.2011 which was posted to the applicants with violation of legislation.

The applicants have generalized and supported their demands on the complaint, asked to identify and investigate all the facts related to the obstacles in the implementation of their right to peaceful assembly, expression and free flow of information, to obtain timely and motivated written responses to their appeals, and to oblige the executive committee to establish a clear and simple procedure for the necessary specifications with applicants for a guaranteed in accordance with Art. 35 of the Constitution and Art. 21, Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) picketing, as well as any other peaceful events, claimed by citizens in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On mass events in Belarus.”

The representative of the executive committee, legal adviser Volha Verhel, stated that these requirements should be rejected by the court, as the executive committee did commit any wrongdoing in making the prohibition of a peaceful assembly of citizens in Zhodzina. The legal adviser considers all responses of the executive committee timely, as they have correct dates.

However, in this case, the representative of the executive committee shied away from a specific question of Aliaksiey Lapitsky “what V.Vergel the legal adviser of the executive committee considers ” notification of applicants” about the Board’s decision – the date of dispatch of mail to the addressee or the time of signing of the decision and putting there an appropriate date? ”

In this regard, the applicants requested the admission of copies of the postal receipt with the date of sending the application to the executive committee about holding a picketing. They drew attention of the judge, that there were also copies of the envelopes which have relevant marks with specific dates of the day when the executive committee sent responses via to the applicants. This documentary evidence shows that officials of the executive committee exercised manipulation of dates at signing and sending responses to the applicants of the peaceful assembly of citizens in Zhodzina to conceal violations of law committed by them when they sent correspondence to the applicants clearly untimely.

In connection with this information the representative of the executive committee demanded not to consider the circumstances regarding an additional appeal of 19.10.2011 and the executive committee’s reply to it in this judicial process on the complaint of the applicants against unlawful actions (inaction) of officials of the executive eommittee, and suggested it be considered a separate document, for which the applicants must pay an additional state fee (!?) …

At the end of the meeting at 13:00 Judge T. Tratsiuk set the date of the new session of the case about banning peaceful picketing in Zhodzina in support of Ales Bialiatsky. Continuation of the proceedings will be held from 14-30 on 13.10.2011 in room 2 in Zhodzina City Court.

Prerpared by Ales Volny,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

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