Vitsebsk Regional Economic Court Decides for Eviction of Vitsebskiy Kurier
According to BelaPAN
On 10 December a judge of Vitsebsk regional economic court Volha Hatsila satisfied the suit of the Elsan open company to the closed company Publishing house Vitsebskiy kurier and ruled to break the rent agreement between the companies, thus satisfying the suit.
On 20 October 2006 the editorial board of the non-state newspaper Vitsebskiy kurier had moved to the office that later became the trial’s subject. On 27 September 2006 Vitsebskiy kurier concluded a rent agreement with Elsan, the expiry date is 31 August 2007. However, on 6 December Vitsebskiy kurier received from the landlord a written demand to leave the office within two days. The editorial board refused to execute this order, after which Elsan sued it.
‘The rent agreement was composed with law violations and is judicially worthless as the closed company Publishing house Vitsebskiy kurier didn’t obtain an agreement for placement of its office from Vitsebsk Pershamaiski borough executive committee’ – this argument was often repeated at the trial by the plaintiff’s representative Aliaksandr Siamionau. According to him, Elsan was to have returned to the editorial board the paid money, but it won’t be done as soon as the editorial board still uses the office.
According to Pavel Levinau, a member of Vitsebsk branch of the Republican public association Belarusian Helsinki Committee who represented the interests of the editorial board at the trial, they intend to appeal the verdict to a superior court and the editorial board won’t move out till the end of the appealing. ‘Till then the situation of the editorial board in that building is completely legal’, believes the human rights activist.
According to Zhana Papova, executive director for closed company Publishing house Vitsebskiy kurier the ruling for the newspaper’s eviction is ‘predictable though lawless’.
Since April 2006 Vitsebskiy kurier was defendant in three trials and managed to win only one case so far.