Journalist Andrei Pachobut gets fined
On 13 January the Kastrychnitski
District Court of Minsk fined the journalist 1,750,000 rubles (about $600) upon
Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code, ‘violation of the rules of organizing
or holding mass events’, for participation in 19 December protest action.
The trial of Mr. Pachobut started on 20 December, but his case was returned to the police for revising. Today’s hearings lasted for 75 minutes. The court considered as an attenuating circumstance that the defendant had two small children.
The BAJ press service talked to Andrei during the break in the court hearings. ‘The court listened only to police witnesses and refused to summon my witnesses who could confirm that I had been implementing my professional duties during the street action. (According to the court ruling, the witnesses were police officers Dudarchyk and Napetski. It is also stated in this document that they had detained Mr. Pachobut, but he disproves this information. – BAJ note)
‘The judge also didn’t attach to the case a video where I could be seen wearing a journalist badge. The policemen, in their turn, stated that I had no document confirming that I was a journalist,’ said Mr. Pachobut.
By the way, on 12 January the journalist’s apartment was searched. In the evening he was guarded to KGB. Before the trial he contacted the editorial office of a socio-political weekly Nasha Niva and said he had been taken to the Kastrychnitski District Police Department (DPD) of Minsk from the Hrodna KGB department and spent the night at the DPD. ‘It is revenge on the part of KGB for my journalist activities and for the recent unsuccessful ‘talk’ with me,’ commented the journalist.
Bear in mind that on 8 January Andrei was forcedly guarded to the Hrodna KGB department, for a ‘talk’ that reminded of an interrogation. He was even hit in the head several times. The journalist filed a complaint to the procuracy concerning these events. Before that, in November 2010, Mr. Pachobut was denied accreditation at the Belarusian MFA as a journalist for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.