Mahiliou: fine for religious activities
According to information of the BelaPAN, on 11 May the judge of Kastrychnitski district court of Mahiliou Iryna Tsiaplova fined the entrepreneur Liudmila Batsiuk, member of the international organization House on the Rock 140 000 rubles (about $50) for illegal religious activities.
The verdict was issued under Article 9.9 of the Administrative Code, part 1. In an interview with the BelaPAN the lawyer Dzina Shautsova expressed the opinion that appliance of the penalties for activities connected to dissemination of religious convictions under Article 9.9, part 1 contradicts to Article 31 of the Constitution (guaranteeing citizens the right to freedom of conscience and religious belief), and also to Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In an interview to the BelaPAN L.Batsiuk stated that she considered the verdict unlawful, because as a result she, being a believer, was deprived of the right to give moral support to those who suffer from alcoholic and narcotic addiction.
According to her, the court verdict also contradicts to Alexander Lukashenka’s words in the address to the people and to the National Assembly on 23 April 2009: ‘We count on the support and assistance of all confessions in strengthening of the family and upbringing of the rising generation, in the spheres of charity, social service, prevention of alcoholism, violence and spiritual degradation.’
L.Batsiuk is going to appeal against Tsiaplova’s verdict at Mahiliou oblast court. She is also going to appeal against the actions of the judge, who issued the verdict without leaving the court hall.