BAJ Member Sues Homelskaya Prauda Newspaper
Legal consultant of Homel city BAJ organization Leanid Sudalenka applied to Chyhunachny court of Homel with a suit against Homelskaya Prauda newspaper and one of its reporters. The reason is an article by S. Hrushenka: “Sending Own Kids Abroad, and Somebody Else’s – to Fight for Democracy”. (Homelskaya Prauda, 117-118, August 2nd, 2007). In the opinion of the plaintiff, the journalist spread untruthful information insulting his family.
In the beginning Sudalenka addressed the editor’s office trying to solve the conflict. On August 3rd, he addressed newspaper’s editor-in-chief Siarhei Biapaly demanding to officially recognize that the published information was false and publish the truth on the pages of the newspaper. However, the editorial team left his letter without attention.
The article which became the reason for the conflict stated that the son of Leanid Sudalenka “went to study abroad through the program for opposition activists although he had never participated in the activities of the opposition forces”. According to the article’s author S. Hrushenka, “the possibility to send children abroad is a good bonus to the grant money which the foreign masters give to the homebred opposition”.
Leanid Sudalenka states that it is true that his son studies in Poland. However, he receives higher education abroad not through the “program for opposition activists”, but through the international program “Children of the Repressed Parents”. (After the end of the presidential election in 2006, Homel branch of Beltransgaz, where Leanid Sudalenka was a legal consultant, refused to sign a new contract with him. The reason was Sudalenka’s participation in the team of opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich).
Besides that, the author of the article published by Homelskaya Prauda, called the former members of Civic Initiatives NGO “grown-ups that have an urgent need of young cadres, “cannon fodder”, who are ready to participate in any anti-social action, without thinking twice, and to put their future at risk”.
Leanid Sudalenka, who was a member of the NGO, reminds that the court verdict about the closure of the organization was considered by the UN Committee on Human Rights. The Committee obliged Belarus to re-register the organization and to pay fair compensation to its members. The government failed to execute the decision.
There was a similar case in March. According to the court decision, Homelskaya Prauda had to refute the false information it had published about chair of Homel UCP branch Andrei Tolchyn.