Hrodna court fines BCD activist over picket

2013 2013-03-18T13:39:07+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Judge Zinaida Bartsevich of Hrodna Kastrychnitski District Court fined today Halina Kotava, local activist of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party, 2.5 mln rubles.

The activist was found guilty of illegal picketing on 2 March to campaign for small border traffic in the region.

According to Mrs. Kotava, she mistakenly believed that the picket was authorized. When the event was about to be started, there appeared several people in plain clothes who began shooting the picketers with a video camera.

Mikalai Bausiuk, the BCD’s region leader, says the men did not warn the activists that the picket was illegal. He also argues the activists left immediately after they learned that. However, Halina Kotava, as the applicant of the event, was charged with illegal picketing.

During the trial, Judge Bartsevich did not take into account the fact that Mrs. Kotava stopped picketing as soon as she realized that it was illegal. The Judge also ignored the extremely low income of the retired woman amounting at 1.7 mln rubles a month.