Statement of Board of Public Association “Human Rights Center “Viasna” against Persecution of Peaceful Demonstrators
The authorities go on violating the right of Belarusian citizens to peaceful assemblies. On 12, 23 and 25 March 2003 the police detained many participants of peaceful manifestations that didn’t present any threat to the public order. 38 persons were judged. 24 were imprisoned, 6 –fined, 8 – warned.
We are greatly concerned with the fact that none of the detainees were justified. Judges made groundlessly violent verdicts even in the cases when the guilt wasn’t proved and testimonies of police workers were incoherent and contradicting.
We observe a dangerous tendency – courts don’t justify participants of peaceful actions. Judges don’t conduct all-sided consideration of such administrative cases and are satisfied with standard testimonies of policemen, who are interested persons and often perjure. This fact witnesses non-objectivity and dependence of judges.
We should point out, that according to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus the courts are to be independent. Considering case, judges must be guided only by proved facts. According to the Plenum decision of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus during consideration of cases courts must proceed from the presumption of innocence.
We demand to stop persecution of participants of peaceful actions, including the persecution at courts.
Minsk, 28 March 2003