2013 02/11

Aliaksiey Lapitsky, Zhodzina

On November 1, 2013 from 10-00 to 12-40 in the building of Zhodzina City Court the first hearing of the case on the city authorities’ ban of a peaceful picketing in support of a political prisoner and prominent human rights activist, chairman of the closed by the authorities human rights center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski as well as other political prisoners was held.

The court session was chaired by Judge Ivan Grynkievich and secretary Afanasyeva. Interested party in the case was represented by the head of the legal department of Zhodzina Executive Committee Volga Verhel.

The peculiarity of this case is that the applicants, the human rights defenders Aliaksiey Lapitsky and Sviatlana Lapitskaya, challenge the denial of realization of their right to picket under the action of the new regulations of Zhodzina local authorities of 27 July, 2012, under the number 1020 – “About the order of public events in Zhodzina”. In practice, both applicants are convinced that the document has greatly complicated the process of application, makes it just impossible and obstructs the realization of the inalienable rights of their citizens to publicly express their opinion and take part in peaceful assemblies. According to the new document of the organizers should come into contracts with the police, medical and community services before applying to the Executive Committee. But these cervices don’t enter into such agreements without a permit from the executive committee to conduct a mass event.

In this regard, the applicants ask the court to examine the circumstances of the refusal to hold a picketing, to find those responsible (if there are any), as well as to put before the highest courts (Supreme Court and Constitutional Court), in particular, the question of non-compliance of the requirements of the Decree #1020 p.5 of the local Law “On Mass Events” and Article 35 and Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, as well as Article 21 and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

After the applicants outlined their requirements and their position in the court, the representative of the executive committee suggested to file the case because of its alleged lack of jurisdiction, stating the fact that the executive committee (as she suggested the court to consider) has not prohibited the picketing and claimed its decision was to be challenged in pre-trial order in Minsk Region Executive Committee.

Following the presentation of positions, tasks and discussions of issues, the court accepted to execution a number of petitions from the applicants. As a result, for the next court session, to be held on November 8, 2013, the representatives of the Zhodino police department, public utilities, and City Hospital are summoned to appear before court. Including the last protocol and comments to it entirely accepted by the court (these documents can be seen here) and the police department, public utilities and City Hospital official responses to court requests concerning contracts and other court documents necessary for examination.

Belarusian Legal Portal

Photo by Ales Lapitski

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