Warnings to “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta” Set aside
Based on information of Radio “Liberty”
The Supreme Economic Court has considered the suit of the “Marat” enterprise, editor of the newspaper “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta” and its attachment “Dlya Sluzhebnogo Polzovaniya” with the demand to set aside the warning of the Information Ministry for the article “Magic Crystal” by Iryna Khalip.
The article dealt with the criminal case against the ex-worker of Minsk factory of alcoholic beverages Andrey Kazeka and his father Viktar Kazeka, ex-president of “Beldziarzhkharchpram” concern. It described the manipulations with the participation of “Afghanvet” firm, created by veterans of the war in Afghanistan. Head of this organization is Viktar Sheyman, Prosecutor General, and the reason for the warning was a letter, signed by him.
Judge Valery Shobikaw demanded from the newspaper representatives to draw evidence that the article information was true. Having signed the warning about criminal responsibility for false testimony, Iryna Khalip stated:
(Khalip): “Viktar Ryhoravich Kazeka told me that interests of the “Afghanvet” firm were lobbied directly by Prosecutor General, Viktar Sheyman. When he started working at “Beldziarzhkharchpram” and established the tender commission to liquidate facilities (which means setting aside additional agreements with “Afghanvet”), he got in big trouble. Stsiapan Sukharenka, vice-Head of the Security Soviet, summoned him there and posed open threats, referring to the omnipotent Prosecutor General Viktar Sheyman”.
Ms. Khalip passed to the court a copy of an appeal of Tatsiana Aliakseychuk, co-habitant of Andrey Kazeka, to Head of the KGB Board of Minsk and Minsk region. In this document, attached to the case materials, she stated that an unknown man phoned her and proposed to help in closing the criminal case against him.
(Khalip): “He said that he represented interests of some other persons, being a mediator and called only the sum of 250 000 USD. He said that Sheyman was going to take $100 000 and the rest were divided between member of the investigative group.”
Having listened to these testimonies, Judge Valery Shobik found the warning illegal in the part where it says that the newspaper actually justified the corrupted activity of the former Head of “Beldziarzhkharchpram” V. Kazeka and his son Viktar Kazeka, Head of the realization department at the regional Unitarian enterprise “Cristal”. This accusation of the Information Ministry was set aside. However, the court didn’t satisfy the rest of the suit to this State body.
The warning for calling workers of the law machinery “lobbyists” of business organizations, was left in force.
Commenting on this decision, representatives of “Marat” pointed out that though the court didn’t find Belarusian prosecutors lobbyists, it confessed that they were blackmailing a bribe, which is much more serious accusation.
According to the court decision, the Ministry of Information will have to pay 140 000 rubles to “Marat” to compensate the State fee for the suit. However, right after the end of the trial the Ministry workers said that they didn’t have such sum of money as on the eve of the trial the Prosecutor’s office found many violations in their work and fined them about 100 000 USD.