Mahiliou activists complain to UN Human Rights Committee
Complaints to the international organization were sent activist of the Belarusian Popular Front “Adradzhenne” Siarhei Niahatsin and deputy chairman of the Free Trade Union of Belarus Yury Novikau.
The activists believe that the Republic of Belarus violated their rights guaranteed by Par. 2, Article 19 and Par. 1, Article 14, as well as Par. 1 and 3, Article 2 and Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Therefore, they ask the Human Rights Committee to recommend the Supreme Court and the government of the Republic of Belarus to abolish the imposed administrative penalties.
Siarhei Niahatsin and Yury Novikau have appealed their administrative penalty in Mahiliou Regional Court. However, the verdict was not appealed to the higher judicial authorities, as, according to Mahiliou human rights defenders and the practice of the Human Rights Committee, reviewing of court decisions which have entered into force under the supervisory procedure does not constitute a remedy that must be exhausted in accordance with the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Siarhei Niahatsin was fined 3 mln rubles for the distribution of the newspaper “Tut I Tsiaper” (“Here and Now”) at the Vilenski market on March 31, 2012. The policemen seized 80 copies of the newspaper from the activist.
Yury Novikau was fined four million rubles. On September 11, 2012 the activist’s car was stopped by traffic police. Mr. Novikau was urged to drive to the police station, where his car was searched. In the trunk of his car, the policemen found 905 copies of the newsletter “For Fair Elections-2012”, 293 copies of the booklet “Guidelines for Observers” and 291 copies of “Observers’ Workbooks”.
It should be noted that at the time of arrest Siarhei Niahatsin possessed an authorized number of copies of the newsletter, and Yury Novikau was not engaged in distribution of printed materials – he was only transporting them. In addition, all the products are not mass media, but working materials for observers intended for internal use only.