Zhodzina police take extraordinary measures to guard to court distributor of independent press
At 11 a.m. on 27 October a police captain Zayats came to the working place
of Andrei Zubra who works in the design office of the Belarusian Automobile
Plant (BelAZ). The policeman had the violation report concerning the detention
of Mr. Zubra with 216 copies of the newspaper Tut I Tsiaper. He demanded that Andrei should stop working and go
to court together with him.
Andrei Zubra was astonished at the fact that the
policeman tried to guard him to court without handing him a writ first, and
demanded from him to abide by the legal proceedings. The policeman composed a
writ according to which the activist was to come to the Zhodzina Town Police
Department at 3 p.m. and called a police car. Then he took Andrei away in front
of the eyes of his colleagues.
The activist was guarded to the police department, where captain Zayats destroyed the old violation report in Zubra’s presence and tried to receive some new testimony from him, but the youngster refused to give anything. As a result, the policeman drew up a new violation report. Then he invited Andrei to the lieutenant colonel Siavets, who suddenly called a car to guard the activist to court.
There Mr. Zubra was tried by the duty judge Hrynkevich for alleged violation of Article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Violations. Testimonies were given by the policemen who had detained the activist with the newspapers. They said that the edition looked as ‘banned for distribution at our territory’, because it was in Belarusian, contained the words ‘president’ and ‘elections’ and had seemingly oppositional implications. The next court sitting was appointed on 29 October.
This time Mr. Zubra also made several motions, which were granted. He also turned the attention of the court to the fact that Article 22.9 envisages punishment for production and distribution of printed media in aggregate, whereas the violation report concerned only distribution of the newspaper.
As a result, the judge ruled that the case materials were to be returned to the police for improvement. The Zhodzina human rights defender Aliaksei Lapitski rendered legal aid to Andrei Zubra, though he wasn’t admitted to the trial as his representative.