Vitsebsk Regional Court turns down appeal against Freedom Day rally ban
On 26 April, the board of Vitsebsk regional Court dismissed a complaint lodged by local pro-democratic activists Khrystafor Zhaliapau, Aliaksei Haurutsikau and Yan Dziarzhautsau against an earlier ban on holding a rally and a meeting on Freedom Day (25 March) imposed by deputy chair of the city’s executive committee Uladzimir Shloma.
The decision was earlier upheld by the Court of Kastrychnitski District of Vitsebsk.
The events were expected to be held in two different district of the city; therefore the applications were submitted to the city executive committee. However, the official reply from the executive officials said that the activists violated the Mass Events Code, as they allegedly should have applied to the two corresponding district administrations.
According to the activists, local officials and judges deliberately make use of the Code’s ambiguity to impose illegal bans on opposition street events.