Communists Litigating

2006 2006-10-19T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Today Centralny Court of Minsk is to hear the suit of the opposition Party of Communists of Belarus (PCB) against The Communist of Belarus, newspaper of the pro-governmental Communist Party of Belarus (CPB) and its first secretary Tatsiana Holubeva. The communists in opposition demand the newspaper should officially deny the information it published. On July 18 the authorities organized the so called Merge Convention of CPB and PCB. After the convention The Communist of Belarus published extracts from the speech of Tatsiana Holubeva, first secretary of CPB and member of the Belarusian Chamber of Representatives. She claimed the majority of local organizations of the oppositional PCB has sent their delegates to the convention. Moreover, according to T. Holubeva, many local structures of the PCB had made a decision to join CPB. The communists in opposition were exasperated.

Siarhei Kaliakin, first secretary of PCB, told RFE/RL: “This is not true. We have our own Party __ Party of Communists of Belarus. We have our own Statute, and our own platform. That is why we demand the newspaper should deny the false information – because they have already buried us. We are alive and we continue to work. Mass media publishing information that we don’t exist anymore misleads our supporters and our potential voters. This is especially important during the lection period that has just started”.

Siarhei Kaliakin says, they have documental proofs that Tatsiana Holubeva and CPB newspaper gave false information.

Recently Minsk courts have heard similar suits of the Communists in opposition to Belaruskaya Niva and Respublika newspapers which reprinted information about alleged participation of delegates from the majority of PCB structures in the convention. PCB lost the cases – the court considered the information published by the newspapers a “political dispute”.

I asked Siarhei Kaliakin, whether it makes sense to waste time, efforts and resources on court hearings that always lead to the same result.

-- They are forced to lie in court. They are risking criminal charges for that. In any case, they will leave trace of that. We spend time on that but our efforts are not in vain.

The first court hearing on the case was supposed to take place on September 22. It was postponed because of the defendant. Tatsiana Holubeva was undergoing a course of medical treatment, and her legal representative failed to attend the hearing. The hearing began on October 19.