Court Justifies Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions
On 21 February Leninski district court of Minsk dropped the administrative case that had been brought against the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU) for alleged illegal purchase and use of polygraphic equipment. The BCDTU hopes that soon the law machinery will also return the confiscated risograph.
According to the BCDTU lawyer Sviatlana Uelskaya, one of the reasons for such verdict was that the expiry of the legal two-month term for administrative punishment.
Bear in mind that the risograph was confiscated from the BCDTU office on 6 December 2007, during an unsanctioned search that was performed by workers of Leninski district police department of Minsk. The materials of the case against the BCDTU were passed to the Ministry of Information. The congress representatives were twice summonsed to the ministry – for giving testimonies and for drawing up the violation report.
During the trial the rules in violation of which the BCDTU was accused were changed: since 1 January 2008 one doesn’t need the permission of the Ministry of Information to purchase a risograph.
Thus, before the conclusive court sitting the law was amended and the punishment term expired. Besides, as the BCDTU chairperson Aliaksandr Yarashuk states, the congress has never dealt with polygraphic activities – that’s why there were no reasons for accusations.
But one important issue remains unsolved. The police burst into the office and searched it without prosecutor’s sanction, photographed the activists who were there, detained them and confiscated the risograph. Neither Leninski district prosecutor’s office, nor the General Prosecutor’s office to which BCDTU has applied with the request to explain these actions of the police and give a legal evaluation to them still give no reply.