Mahiliou court fails to punish official for insulting local social democrats

2013 2013-05-31T21:05:06+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Meanwhile, local activists of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) have no doubt: this was made by the head of the “Mahiliouablselbud” dormitory system, Pavel Shyshou.

Today, on May 31, was the last day of the trial initiated by the Belarusian Social Democratic Party and its member Mikalai Zalozny, in particular. After four hearings, Leninski District Court of Mahiliou in the name of Judge Andrei Yurchanka said he could not identify the author of the slander of one of the oldest Belarusian political parties.

The lawsuit was filed after Pavel Shyshou called the party a “gang” in his interview to the BelaPAN news agency. The publication was posted by the online newspaper on March 28, 2013.

While in court, the official admitted that he had received a phone call and had to answer questions about Mikalai Zalozny, but he argued he did not call the party a “gang”. In addition, the person who called him did not give his name, nor did he say which media he represented and failed to warn that the conversation would be recorded.

After the Judge listened to the recording, Pavel Shyshou said the voice on the tape was not his and that it was nothing but a montage.

The Prosecutor and the Judge several times suggested that it was the fault of BelaPAN, as the journalist published an interview that denigrated the reputation of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party and offended Mikalai Zalozny.

Judge Yurchanka also refused to listen to the working recording of the interview made by journalist Ales Asiptsou. The recording clearly proves that the journalist named the media he represented and asked for permission to record the conversation.

The Judge also rejected the motion of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party representative in the courtroom, Ihar Barysau, who demanded to send the working recording of the interview for examination.

“Everybody can see, including the Judge and the Prosecutor, that it was he who called our party a gang and there is direct evidence of that. To Judge Yurchanka, the decision was not easy, since politics was involved. One could see that he, the Prosecutor and Shyshou himself were nervous during the trial,” says Ihar Barysau.

Human rights defender Barys Bukhel says there is no doubt that the court’s decision is politically motivated.

“The court deprived the Belarusian Social Democratic Party and Mikalai Zalozny of any means of proof, and then it accused them of being unable to provide any evidence, though there were numerous requests to listen to the audio recording of the conversation and send the recording for an examination. If these requests had been granted, then all would have become even more obvious,” says Barys Bukhel.

 Meanwhile, activists of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party intend to appeal the court decision to the Regional Court, to keep seeking examination of the record, as well as to post the recording online.

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