Court upholds oil refinery worker`s suit against Ivashkevich
A judge of Minsk’s Savetski District Court upheld Tuesday a lawsuit filed by an employee of Mazyr Oil Refinery against opposition politician Viktar Ivashkevich for his campaign for the European Union’s ban on Belarusian petroleum products.
As a result of the hearing that lasted an hour and a half, Judge Ina
Lawkova ordered Mr. Ivashkevich to pay Maryna Tsybliyenka 500,000 rubels
(around $60), a sum that the computer operator at Mazyr Oil Refinery
had sought in compensation for “moral harm" allegedly done to her by the
politician’s call for the ban.
Mr. Ivashkevich was also ordered to post on pro-opposition news site charter97.org a statement withdrawing his call for the ban.
In mid-March, Mr. Ivashkevich urged the European Union to stop buying Belarusian petrochemical products until the release of opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka.
While speaking in court, Ms. Tsybliyenka claimed that she had had to suffer psychological stress due to a fear of losing her job after Mr. Ivashkevich’s call.
With his call, Mr. Ivashkevich discredited the opposition in Belarus, Ms. Tsybliyenka said, adding that she, as a mother and woman, wanted to see “stability” in the country.
Mr. Ivashkevich argued that the EU was introducing sanctions against Minsk in response to politically motivated prison sentences and insults directed against EU politicians, proposing that he and Ms. Tsybliyenka settle the dispute “amicably by agreeing on struggling for a government change in the country together.”
Ahead of the hearing, two dozen activists of the pro-government Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus staged a brief demonstration in front of the courthouse to demand punishment for “instigators calling for economic sanctions against Belarus.”
In early April, Belarus’ state-run television networks reported that Ms. Tsybliyenka had gone to court. They said that an employee of chemical company AAT Hrodna Azot had also filed a lawsuit against former presidential candidate Dzmitry Uss for calling on the EU to introduce sanctions against Belarus.