Siarhei Siamionau Fined for Demanding Belarusian Version of Customs Declaration
The Homel activist Siarhei Siamionau was fined 930 000 rubles (about 432 US dollars) for a demand to give him a blank of the customs declaration in Belarusian. The verdict was issued by the judge of Tsentralny district court of Homel Maryia Damenka.
On 21 August at the crossing point Tserukha on the Ukrainian border the Belarusian customs officers demanded from Siamionau to fill a customs declaration. He answered that he could present all the necessary information orally. Then the customs officers familiarized him with a ruling that obliged individuals to fill customs declarations on their request. As a result of a short talk with Siamionau the customs officers composed a report for ‘insubordination to legal demands of a customs officer’.
As said by Siamionau to Radio Racyja, the trial lasted for a couple of minutes only. ‘At the trial I explained that I had not refused to fill a declaration, I just asked them either to give me a blank in Belarusian or call a translator. The judge thought for some 5-10 minutes and then said I was guilty.’
The activist is going to appeal the verdict to Homel regional court and apply to the prosecutor’s office concerning the fact of slander by the customs officers.