Renowned Navapolatsk-based Resource Center Usiaslau Charadzei was shut down
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Vitsebsk regional court ruled that the non-state organization should be deprived of registration because it does not "operate from its registered office".
The Usiaslau Charadzei started having problems with "registration" since it was re-registered in 1999. The non-state organization formally lost its registered office in the Center of Handicrafts and National Culture. Earlier the heads of this organization did not mind NGOs having registered offices on its premises. But, according to Vasil Khramtsou, chair of the public association of cultural and enlightenment initiatives Usiaslau Charadzei, the culture department of the Navapolatsk Town Executive Committee was pressurized from above – they received an order barring NGOs from having registered offices in the Center of Handicrafts.
Renewing "registration" on the old premises or finding suitable premises elsewhere proved to be an impossible task. "The Town Executive Committee officially guaranteed that we would keep our registered office at 1 Parkavaia Street, the Center of Handicrafts, says V.Khramtsou. In fact, the authorities did not deliver its promises. We continuously appealed to the city administration with complaints, where we asked for the promised premises that could be paid for at a reduced rate. Usiaslau Charadzei is now in the situation that our undemocratic regime may take advantage of to close a powerful association.
At the same time the justice department repeatedly issued warnings, reminding the NGO that it did not have a registered office. Finally, the head of the department Pranik filed a liquidation suit against the Usiaslau Charadzei.
"I found out about that the day before the consideration of the case. Judge Matushaikes called me and said that I had to appear for the sitting. I refused. Does it make sense attending this farce if it is clear the authorities have done everything to deprive our organization of registration, and the outcome of the sitting is easy to predict?" , said V.Khramtsou.
On 7 June the court ruled not only to liquidate the organization. It also ruled that the Usiaslau Charadzei will have to pay for Themis' services – 127500 rubles.