Pavel Sapelka finds no propaganda of violence and cruelty in Yanina Liasneuskaya’s actions
Commenting on the administrative
charges brought against Yanina Liasneuskaya for alleged dissemination of
works that propagandize violence and cruelty, human rights lawyer Pavel Sapelka
notes that the actions of the resident of Orsha have no signs of an
administrative offence under Art. 17.8 of the Code on Administrative Offences.
On July 12, 2012 Orsha town police charged Yanina Liasneuskaya with an administrative offence, namely with deliberately keeping a coloring book at her place of residence in order to promote violence and cruelty. In accordance with Article 17.8. of the Code on Administrative Offences ("Dissemination of works that propagandize violence and cruelty"), it is an offense to manufacture or possess with intent to distribute or advertise, as well as the public display of films and videos, or other products that promote the cult of violence and cruelty.
However, single-instance storage of printed materials does not clearly demonstrate the intention to distribute them.
Moreover, the court should also pay attention to the following facts:
- the fact that the coloring book (brochure) contains scenes of cruelty and violence has been established by the conclusion of the regional expert committee, which is in its essence an inadmissible evidence, and its content does not meet the requirements of regulations defining the terms and concepts used in the conclusion.
In particular, in accordance with the form of expert opinion № 47 of the Republican commission of experts to prevent propagation of pornography, violence and cruelty, approved by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus on December 20, 2008, the opinion of the expert should specify when, where and by whom (name, surname, patronymic, education, occupation, professional experience, academic degree and academic title, position), and on what basis the assessment is carried out. The conclusion provided in the case file does not have any information that supports qualification of the experts.
In accordance with the Regulations № 18 on the procedure of registration, printing, display, rental, sale and advertising of erotic products, and products containing elements of eroticism, violence and cruelty, production on sex education, as well as products of a sexual purpose, approved by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus on May 8, 2007, "propaganda of violence and cruelty is an end in itself a demonstration of violence and cruelty, naturalistic and detailed images of scenes of sadism, excessive cruelty to both humans and animals, including sexual abuse, showing scenes of dismemberment of victims of torture, extermination in particularly cruel ways; close-ups and long scenes of tormented people and animals, abuse of a corpse, methods of manufacture and use of both conventional weapons and devices for torture, glorification and promotion of chauvinism, national exclusiveness, racism, and various wars and conflicts, representation of relationships between people, animals and the world around them as excessively brutal, uncompromising, illogical, misanthropic, egocentric, suggestive of one-dimensional anti-human approach to life."
The presented conclusion argues that the image could encourage people with sadistic tendencies to enroll in law enforcement agencies and force citizens to exert extra-legal impact on existing law enforcement officers. Therefore, the Commission's conclusion is incorrect.
Thus, the actions of Yanina Liasneuskaya have no signs of an administrative offence under Art. 17.8 of the Administrative Code.
Today, the Orsha Town Court is considering an administrative case of Yanina Liasneuskaya, activist of the “Nash Dom” ("Our House") campaign. She was detained on July 12 in Vitsebsk and accused of distributing products that promote violence and cruelty (Article 17.8 of the Administrative Code). Presiding Judge is Inna Kokhava.
The only coloring was found in Yanina Liasneuskaya’s home during a search in early February. The law enforcement officers searched for printed materials that were sent to Orsha town and district police departments on behalf of the campaign "Our House".
The trial began at 10 a.m. Local human rights defenders and "Our House" activist Mikalai Petrushenka came to support the girl.
Yanina Liasneuskaya demanded a lawyer from Minsk, with whom she signed a contract. Considering this, the Judge decided to suspend the hearing until 4 p.m.