Kobryn: MP confesses blackmailing Alexander Mekh

2008 2008-08-05T18:16:36+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Kobryn court has carried out preliminary consideration of the case on complaint of the Belarusian popular Front Party activist Alexander Mekh. He complains of illegal dismissal from work.

A month ago Alexander Mekh, an engineer of Kobryn branch of Beltransgas, a member of the Belarusian Popular Front party decided to take part in the Parliamentary election, and after that he was dismissed. He was on the list of 110 deputies of democratic parties. On 28 July he sent a complaint to the court and challenged the dismissal as an illegal and politically motivated one. On 4 August a preliminary session of the court trying on the complaint took place, BulletinOnline.org informs.

Alexander Babaskin, judge of Kobryn court, showed two positive signals. He asked the head of Kobryn branch of Beltransgas Uladizmir Halishka whether a conversation with Mekh had taken place when he was offered to choose ‘either work or elections’, and was given a positive answer. Besides, the legal adviser of the head office of Beltransgads, who was a representative of the employer as well, was asked whether Mekh had had reprimands at work. When answered he hadn’t, the legal adviser was asked why the contract had been concluded several times over one year, and why it hasn’t been prolonged. The answer was;” It’s a right of the employer”. And “I do not know”.

Judge Barabaskin could have been given a credit also for allowing a representative of the complainant, a lawyer of the independent Belarusian Radio and Electronics Workers’ Union (REWU) Uladzimir Malei, if it had not been for his words: ‘Well, are we going to argue with you again?’

The amicable settlement agreement offered by Malei, was declined. It means that the complainant as before insists on reinstating at work, on a payment for his forced absence, moral damages of 500 000 Br for politically motivated discrimination at the working place.

The court satisfied A.Mekh’s motion on making available the collective contract of 2004 to him. He was not allowed to read it when he was dismissed. And the court could have force Beltransgas to grant an original document, as requested by lawyer Malei, as a Minsk representative of the firm brought extracts from the document and offered to read its internet-version (!). It looks as if workers do not have an opportunity to read the collective contract, as it is kept in the head office in Minsk, as Mr. Mekh was told.

Motions on calling witnesses to the court were satisfied as well. A publication of a Dictaphone-recorded conversation of Alexander Mekh with the head of the branch office Halashka and the head of Kobryn regional KGB office Basko on June 4 published in the Narodnaya Volia appeared in the court. The conversation had elements of blackmailing and threats.

The next session of the court is to take place on August 22 at 10 a.m.

‘The mission of Judge Babaskin can hardly be accomplished’, one of the BPF activists said. ‘On one hand, the recording by Mekh in the office of Mr. Halashka has undoubtedly shown the politically motivated character of the dismissal. The case has become widely discussed by independent media and in people’s rumors.