Viktar Ramniou again fined for ‘Vitebskiy Kuryer’
Valiantsina Kismiaroshkina, Judge of the Pershamaiski District Court of Vitsebsk, fined Viktar Ramniou, the founder of the Vitebskiy Kuryer newspaper, 1, 050 000 rubles (about $353) for trafficking 53 copies of the newspaper that had been found in his car by the police.
As it follows from the police report, Mr. Ramniou violated the order of distribution of the edition having an official registration in Russia only. Transportation of newspapers by car is also considered as distribution. Judge Kismiaroshkina declared that the founder violated the law as Vitebskiy Kuryer had no official permission for distribution on the territory of Belarus.
Pavel Levinau, the Vitsebsk human rights defender that gives consultations to Viktar Ramniou, insisted that the judge made an inquiry to the Ministry of Information whether other Russian editions, such as Liza and Speed-Info had such permissions, as short before this he managed to find that only 12 out of about 2,000 Russian editions had such permissions.
The answer that came to the court reads that the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus doesn’t possess any information about which Russian editions are distributed on the territory of Russian without permission. The judge considered it as a sufficient reason to fine Mr. Ramniou.
This is not the first fine for the founder of the newspaper. On 25 March, the police detained his car not far from the Belarusian-Russian border, confiscated from him 10,000 copies of Vitebskiy Kuryer, following which the Liozna District Court fined him 1,2 million rubles.