2009 04/11
Пятро Кузьняцоў, Гомель

Piotr Kuzniatsou, Homel

The owners of the Belarusian passports are under state protection. So it is written in the document itself. However, the Belarusian reality is built on lies. It often happens that the Belarusian passport is a passport to hell.
Vitebsk human rights activist Leanid Svetsik was sentenced to a fine of about 12 thousand dollars! It was several months ago, but for some reason it is now when this has to be pronounced. The reasons are as follows.
The sentence implied that the human rights activist had been engaged in sending threatening letters to various residents of the town of Vitebsk on behalf of the unregistered organization “Russian National Unity”. Any mentally sane person in Vitsebsk familiar with the substance of the issue will tell you that Svetsik could not have done that, even if only for the reason that he had provided legal assistance to those who received such letters. But my objective is not to doubt the fairness of the charges, though, and I think them absurd. I want to say something else.
A few months after the verdict, it became clear that the convict could not pay the fantastic by any standards fine. This circumstance implies a real threat of an innocent man and his family becoming homeless, because the only property for sale which could bring the desired amount is their private flat.
Meanwhile, a few questions have emerged. As well as answers.
What were the underlying reasons that made the court make such a verdict? It was not clear that people would not be able to pay such a sum? Svetsik himself immediately after the court passionately declared that he would rather serve a jail term instead. Why is the Belarusian state in some very specific cases committed to putting people in such conditions that would otherwise not be called as murderous? Angle? .. Flags? .. Break? .. Destroy? .. His problem? ..
Once again the problem of the adequacy of the Belarusian justice while delivering judgments is at stake. Let alone the “independence” of courts, lawlessness of investigative authorities and intelligence services: default … But the legislation of Belarus is an area which in this case can not be ignored.
It is designed so that the State – a team of officials, the KGB and the corrupt judge – could at the right moment choose for themselves with what punishment to award a person to solve their problems.
For the managing director of the Zhdanovichy Trade Center Shyhalau who stole millions of dollars, it was obviously easier to pay for his freedom, than go to jail, and so he did. “A thief should be in prison” – an ideology of Soviet police detective Zheglov, it is not for Lukashenka.
Human rights activist Svetsik did not steal millions. Nor does he have ones. The work of a human rights activist is voluntary and free. Punishable charity. He, falsely accused, according to his executors, deserves to become homeless just for the fact that he calls himself a “human rights defender”. And an absolutely innocent person is awarded with such a fine, that he could not, no matter how hard he would try, get out of this tough situation by himself. Such a fine, so that even the public institutions, which could potentially help, would balance in indecision.
It all happened because Svetsik dared to become a human rights defender in Belarus. Yes, he has a passport, which, just like the passport of Lukashenka, says that he, Svetsik, is under the protection of the Belarusian State.
I may be mistaken, but I do believe: Svetsik and his family would rather lose their Belarusian passports than their home…

Source: www.odsgomel.org
Prepared by Ales LETA,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

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