Bialynichy activist appeals fine
Civil society activist Valery Vusik filed on July 5 a complaint to the Chairman of Mahiliou Regional Court, Ihar Prashko. In his complaint, the activist asks to cancel a ruling by the district court of Bialynichy that sentenced him to fine of 5 mln rubles in late March.
On March 29, 2013 the Chairman of the District Court of Bialynichy, Uladzimir Huz, sentenced Valery Vusik to fine of 3 mln for defaming the SEO of the Lebiadzianka state-owned farm, Piotr Bialou, and a fine of 2 mln for violation of Article 17 of the Law on Mass Media while distributing the newspaper Mahiliouski Vybar. The total amount of the fine thus reached 5 mln rubles.
On April 25 Mahiliou Regional Court heard an appeal against the decision of Bialynichy District Court. As a result, Judge Pavel Klimau ruled to leave the ruling unchanged, and the appeal was dismissed.
The Judge did not take into account the fact that the district court denied the activist his right to legal protection and access to a lawyer; it also failed to hear a number of witnesses for the defense.
“Lately, I have received several phone calls from a bailiff of the court of Bialynichy district, who required that I began to pay the unfair penalty imposed on me. I have also received a letter from the court. However, I do not consider myself guilty, as the verdict was handed down by the court of Bialynichy district in order to punish me for what I said on numerous violations on the Lebiadzianka farm and distributed the independent newspaper; in fact, I did not commit any violations of the Belarusian legislation,” says Valery Vusik.
With the help of the human rights defender Barys Bukhel I prepared and filed on July 5 a big and well-motivated complaint to the Chairman of Mahiliou Regional Court Ihar Prashko urging him to cancel the ruling of Bialynichy district court on alleged libel and distribution of the newspaper Mahiliouski Vybar. Where should I get the money, I only get a small pension; besides, I do not feel myself guilty of anything. I hope that the Chairman of Mahiliou Regional Court will sort out my case and reverse the decision by Bialynichy District Court,” says the activist.
Apart from that, Valery Vusik says that on July 8 he is going to petition the district court of Bialynichy with a request to suspend the execution of the administrative punishment against him for the period of the consideration of his complaint by the Chairman of Mahiliou Regional Court.
Mahiliou human rights defender Barys Bukhel says that if the Chairman of Mahiliou Regional Court treats the case of Valery Vusik on a fair basis and in accordance with the law, he will reverse the decision of the district court of Bialynichy, “The trial in Byalynichy was held with numerous violations, as Valery Vusik was not provided with a lawyer and his witnesses were not heard. At the appeal hearing in the Regional Court, Judge Pavel Klimau did not take into account the convincing arguments of the lawyer and Valery Vusik himself concerning the fact that the district court of Bialynichy denied Valery the right to legal protection and access to a lawyer, nor did it summon his witnesses; besides, it violated his right to freedom of expression. It looked like from the beginning the case was seen as a political one by the Regional Court. However, we decided to seek abolition of the unfair judgment by Bialynichy District Court. The Chairman of Mahiliou Regional Court received a large motivated complaint of more than twenty pages, which sets out all the details of the administrative case. If the Chairman of Mahiliou Regional Court is not prejudiced in the consideration of the administrative case, the district court ruling on the punishment of Valery Vusik with a fine of 5 mln rubles should certainly be abolished.”