Vitsebsk activists lose their case and fail to get to trial over Haidukou
A member of the
Conservative Christian Party BPF Yan Dzyarzhautsau and the head of
the Vitebsk branch of the BPF Leanid Avtukhou came to the Vitsebsk
Regional Court where their appeals against verdicts of lower
courts. They weren't
allowed to the second floor where the second hearing on the criminal
case against civic activist Andrei Haidukou was about to begin. The
cassation appeals were considered for just 15 minutes. Judge Iryna
Smaliakova stated that the appeals were to be dismissed.
"The court ignored my arguments that I didn't picket, but just expressed my opinion about the inadmissibility of the construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus, though I just exercised my constitutional right to freedom of expression," commented Yan Dziarzhautsau. As a result, the ruling of the Kastrychnitski District Court of Vitsebsk according to which Mr. Dziarzhautsau was fined 2 million rubles, was left in force.
Leanid Autukhou intended to appeal against the verdict of the Kastrychnitski District Court of Vitsebsk by which he was found guilty of violating the law on mass media. However, according to Mr. Autukhou, the judge immediately started asking him about his case, whereas he asked her to either provide him with an interpreter into the Belarusian language, or to speak Belarusian. Iryna Smaliakova responded by taking a copy of the school record out of his case, saying that he learned the Russian language at school and therefore didn't need any interpreter.
Leanid Autukhou asked why the judge hadn't informed him about his rights at the beginning of the sitting, including the right to use his mother tongue and the right to use interpreter's assistance at the trial. She answered that Autukhou took part in trials thrice a month and therefore knew his rights well enough. Mr. Autukhou apologized and left the court room. The decision about the dismissal of his appeal was issued in his absence.
Knowing that the case of Andrei Haidukou, charged with "high treason", was considered at the Vitsebsk Regional Court, the activist tried to get to teh trial. However, they weren't even let to the second floor. There were more police guards then usual. According to the activists, they behaved rudely, hampering the work of journalists, pushing girls and threatening to take everybody to the police station.