Navapolatsk City Court Considers Zmitser Salawiow’s Complaint
On 18 May Navapolatsk City Court considered Zmitser Salawiow’s complaint against the decision of Navapolatsk City Executive Committee to prohibit the meeting where leaders of the people’s coalition “5+” intended to participate.
The meeting was appointed on 22 April. Navapolatsk CEC prohibited because the application for its holding allegedly didn’t contain all necessary information. During the trials the specialist of the ideology department of Navapolatsk CEC Klopava, who had prepared the text of the refusal, said that the agreement with the local board of internal affairs for protection of public order and the agreement with local medical association for rent of ambulance weren’t attached to the application. However, the law “About mass actions” doesn’t oblige organizers of mass actions to conclude agreements with medics and the police. Klopava also thought that the organizers were to clean the place of the meeting after the action. However, she didn’t explain how they could make difference between the litter that was left by action participants and that was there before the action. So, she wanted to make the action organizers work as street sweepers.
Besides, the text of the refusal contained the obscure phrase “The written undertaking of the organizer (organizers) or the person (persons) responsible for organization and holding of the mass action to hold the mass action”. In fact, the law has such a formulation, but it appears to be facultative if one attentively reads article 4. In this case the action was organized by Zmitser Salawiow, who signed the application, not on behalf of a party or other organization.
It’s worth mentioning that the prohibition was sent by mail on 19 April 2003 (judging by the seal on the envelope, attached to the case materials), three days before the date of the meeting, though the law demands to notify organizers about prohibition or permission of the action five days before it. Klopava explained that the letter was put into the post box on 16 April, which seems quite doubtful.
In the debate the lawyer of Navapolatsk CEC Labanok stated that in future CEC will pay more attention to its correspondence.
Finally, Judge Piatro Liawchonak decided to set aside Zmitser Salawiow’s complaint because it didn’t contain all the necessary information, for instance, about medical services and cleaning of the territory.
The question of future applications for actions to Navapolatsk CEC remains open. The law “On mass actions in the Republic of Belarus” is quite unclear and imprecise. For instance, article 5 states that the route of the mass action is to be obligatory specified in the application. Being guided by common sense, one can decide that this information is to be given for processions only. However, it is quite possible that absence of this detail can bring prohibitions of meetings. So, the law gives the possibility to prohibit “undesired” measures.
Information Department of HRC “Viasna”