Court Makes Oral Admonition to Iryna Makavetskaya
In the evening of 18 January Homel Tsentralny Borough Court ruled to make oral admonition to the correspondent of Narodnaya Volia newspaper in Homel region Iryna Makavetskaya for violation of article # 166 of the Code of Administrative Violations – disrespect to court. The journalist thinks that the punishment is relatively mild because the authorities don’t want a scandal around the events where the law machinery demonstrated its dark side.
The thing is that on 2 December at Homel Chyhunachny Borough Court there started the open trial about which the journalist wanted to report. In the very beginning of the trial the head of the court Tatsiana Adrybets ordered Makavetskaya to leave the court hall. The journalist refused to do it saying she would obey only to lawful demands of the court. As a result, Adrybets had to call the police, who detained Makavetskaya, took her to Homel Chyhunachny Borough Board of Internal Affairs and composed a protocol of violation of article 166 of the Code of Administrative Violations, which provides fine or up to 15 days of jail as punishment.
The judge on administrative cases of Homel Tsentralny Borough Court Yaraslaw Paremski rejected the solicitation of Iryna Makavetskaya to interrogate judge Adrybets and also refused to question the main witness Yuliya Marchanka who was on the leave of absence at the time. The defendants several times stated impeachment to the judge, but the judge defeated the challenges.
Several days ago Homel city organization of Belarusian Association of Journalists received the answer of the Ministry of Justice to the appeal with the request to stop persecution of Iryna Makavetskaya and punish persons who violate rights of journalists. In the letter which was signed by the head of the main board of court organs Mr. Hlazkow it was said that this case was a subject of trial and “it is inadmissible to interfere with the activity of court during consideration of concrete cases”. So, the Ministry of Justice is of the opinion that “the evaluation of the facts, mentioned in this appeal, would be given by the court during the trial”.
Monitoring service of Belarusian Association of Journalists