Nina Davydowskaya Appeals against Fine for Distribution of Human Rights Day Leaflets
On February 2, 2004 Maskowski borough court of Brest started a hearing on Nina Davydowskaya suit. She did not agree with the decision of Brest Maskowski borough administrative commission of December 19, fining her 49 thousand rubles under Art 172 part 3 “Distribution of printed materials, without output data and produced with violations of the set up procedures, the contents of which are directed at damnification of state and public order, rights and legal interests of citizens…”. Let us remind the readers, on 10 December Nina was spreading leaflets congratulating people with the Day of the Human Rights Declaration.
Judge I. P. Klyshpach started the hearing 30 minutes after it was supposed to have started. The Judge did not allow the people to be present during the hearing, motivating her decision by lack of space in the courtroom. Several citizens complained to the head of the court, referring to the Constitutional principle of transparency of trials. After that 2 people were allowed to enter the courtroom. All others had to stay behind the doors.
Nina Davydowskaya interests were represented by lawyer Uladzimir Malei, member the Human Rights Center "Viasna". The respondent was represented by Ludmila V. Malevich, secretary of Maskowski borough administrative commission.
Nina Davydowskaya and her lawyer Uladzimir Malei argued, there had been no violations of the printing procedures:
- the circulation of leaflets was only 200 copies (299 are allowed for printing without license)
- there are output data present
- the leaflet contents are in no way directed at damaging the state or public order. Furthermore, they cannot be harming the citizens, as the leaflet drew their attention to the legal rights of the citizens, guaranteed by the Belarusian Constitution.
Witness Uladzimir Vialichkin told the court he had produced those leaflets in Poland, with the assistance of his Polish colleague.
The Judge asked, if the BPF Statute envisages printing leaflets and announced a 1 hour break, so that the plaintiffs could provide the Statute to her.
After familiarization with the Statute, the Judge postponed the hearing to February 3, 2004.