YAKUBOVICH ATTEMPTS TO AVOID LIBEL SUIT
Alaksei Shydlowski filed a suit against Paval Yakubovich, editor of state-owned Sovetskaya Belorussia, accusing him of libel against him. The case hearing was supposed to start on Monday, 16 September in Savetski borough court. However, the case will be not heard. On 13 September Alaksei Shydlowski received a phone call from the judge, who informed him that the hearing would be postponed. Paval Yakubovich sent a fax, saying he was ill until 1 October. It's worth reminding the readers that the hearing have been postponed for the second time, both times through the defendants fault. Yakubovich did not come to the first hearing, under the pretext of vacation. The hearing was postponed to 16 September on his request. Valantsin Stefanovich, lawyer of Viasna, who represents Shydlowski in court, believes, Paval Yakubovich uses any pretence to drag out the hearing, feeling he is going to lose the case.
On May 29, 2002 Alaksei Shydlowski filed a suit to Minsk Savetski district court concerning protection of honor and dignity and compensation of the moral harm. The defendants are the editorial staff of the newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussia” and the editor-in-chief Paval Yakubovich. Here is the full text of the suit:
Suit about material compensation of the moral harm
On May 8, 2002 newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussia” published an article “Face with a Touch of Mind”, which contains information that doesn’t correspond to the reality and insult my honor and dignity. In accordance with Article No. 153 of the Civic Code of the Republic of Belarus a citizen has the right to demand refutation of the information that insults the honor and dignity unless the person that distributes it can prove it to be true. Besides, a citizen whose honor and dignity are insulted, also has the right to claim material compensation for the moral harm done. The eleventh paragraph of the mentioned article of “Sovetskaya Belorussia”, signed by the editor-in-chief P. Yakubovich, contains the information that contradicts the reality and directly insults my honor and dignity. For instance, in this paragraph it is said: “Here is the “character” of the report, famous dissident, student of the Institute of contemporary knowledge A. Shydlowski – some people blindly describe him as they used to talk about the academician Sakharov. But why does the American democracy love so much the wild boy Shydlowski? Is it because he left his wife and like a criminal hid from paying aliments, simultaneously smearing the city fences with the protest graffiti? And for the criminal responsibility because of non-payment of the aliments, not for the graffiti, which makes him a “prisoner of conscience”. Not really much for a large dissident.”
In this paragraph P. Yakubovich in the insulting form states that I ostensibly left the young wife and was imprisoned for my refusal to pay the aliments. This information is not true and directly insults me. In his newspaper P. Yakubovich accuses me of an immoral deed and states that I am married. The phrase “like a criminal hid from paying aliments” points at the fact that the author of the article groundlessly accuses me of evading from paying aliments and characterizes me like a criminal.
The saying “the criminal responsibility because of non-payment of the aliments, not for the graffiti, which makes him a “prisoner of conscience”” means that the author gives a priory false information that contradict to the reality.
In fact, I have never been married and am not married now, in the time of filing the suit. So, no State bodies obliged me to pay aliments. Furthermore, I couldn’t undergo criminal responsibility for evading from payment the aliments. The information of the above mentioned article have done harm to me as I has been presented as a person who had committed an immoral deed.
Article No. 152 of the Civic Code of the Republic of Belarus provides the right to demand the financials compensation of the moral harm by the actions that violate the property rights or attempt on other, non-property rights of a citizen.
The false nature of the given information can be proved by the verdicts of the College Board of Minsk regional court, taken on February. According to this verdict, I was punished upon the second part of Article No. 201, Article No. 186 and the second part of Article No. 225 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. These articles have no relation to payment of aliments.
So, according to my opinion, P. Yakubovich has violated my legal rights, has inflicted a serious moral injure to me, to be more exact, he has done harm to my reputation. As far as P. Yakubovich has distributed the insulting information through the public edition, being its editor, the editorial staff of the newspaper was also included into the list defendants. On the base of the above mentioned fact I hold an opinion that the newspaper article “Face with a Touch of Mind” has done to me moral harm, insults my honor and dignity.
In connection with this fact, guided by Articles No. 151, 152, 153, 969, 970 of the Civic Code of the Republic of Belarus, I ask:
1. to oblige the newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussia” to publish refutation of the information, placed in the article “Face with a Touch of Mind”;
2. to exact from the editorial staff of the newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussia” the sum of 6,000,000 rubles (six million rubles);
3. to exact from the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussia” P. Yakubovich the sum of 6,000,000 rubles (six million rubles).
The attachments to the suit:
1. suit application (1 copy);
2. copy of the article of the newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussia” “face with a Touch of Mind”;
3. copy of the document, witnessing the payment of the State tax.
May 29, 2002