Brest Regional Court Leaves Fine to S. Khaladovich in Force
On 19 June Mr. Khaladovich came to the village of Hortal (Ivatsevichy district of Brest region) and handed out five copies of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, #22 (110), dated July 2004. Several days late he was summoned to Ivatsevichy District Executive Committee and accused in violation of part 8 of Article #172-1 of the Code of Administrative Violations “Illegal production and distribution of mass media”.
On 3 August Ivatsevichy District Court found him guilty and sentenced to 127 500 rubles fine for distribution of a periodical without the official permission. Mr. Khaladovich addressed a review complaint to Brest Regional Court. He explained that Novaya Gazeta is a registered newspaper that is legally issued in the union state, Russian Federation. According to the Ministry of Information, on 19 February 1998 in Minsk the governments of Belarus and Russia signed the agreement about cooperation in the field of press. Every year the schedule of cooperative measures is signed. On 15 February 1999 the joint college board of the State Committees of Press of Belarus and Russia decided that the editions issued in any of the two countries could be distributed on the territory of both without authorization. At present more than 4 000 Russian newspapers are distributed in Belarus and a number of Russian channels broadcast as well. However, T. Suchok, chair of Brest Regional Court didn’t find the abovementioned decision in the national register of the legal acts of Belarus and therefore considered it unnecessary for implementation and left the verdict of Ivatsevichy court in force.
Now Mr. Khaladovich intends to submit a review complaint to the Supreme Court of Belarus.