Officers of the Baranavichy City Executive Committee get confused in the case of the Milavidy festival

2013 2013-08-12T19:34:09+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 9 August the second hearing on the lawsuit of the activist of the “For Freedom” movement Viktar Syrytsa against the actions of the newspaper of the Baranavichy District Executive Committee “Nash Krai” took place at the Baranavichy City and District Court. The proceedings were held by Judge Volha Apanovich in the Belarusian language.

Viktar Syrytsa filed a lawsuit against “Nash Krai”. The matter is that on 30 May 2013 the newspaper published information that a cultural event in honor of the rebels of 1863 near the Milavidy monuments at 12.30 a.m. on 2 June. After reading about it, Viktar Syrytsa ordered a bus and organized a bus trip for amateurs of history to this festival. However, no events were held near the Milavidy monument at the specified time, that's why Mr. Syrytsa had to apply to court.

At the second sitting the activist argued that “Nash Krai" violated the law "On introduction of changes and amendments to certain laws on advertising" of 3 January 2013. For example, the newspaper provided no information about the organizer of the cultural event, the specifics of the planned event, no name and location of the legal entity, etc. Viktar Syrytsa stressed that the people who came to the Milavidy monuments had suffered not only financial loss, but also felt cheated and offended. That's why he asked the court to oblige the newspaper to publish a refutation, that on 30 May 2013 it had published false information about the event in honor of the rebels in 1863, misleading its readers. Moreover, he asked the court to exact from “Nash Krai” the loss he incurred by renting the bus, in the amount of 2.3 million rubles, and also collect from the newspaper the registration fee he had to pay while filing his lawsuit.

The defendant, the chief editor of "Nash Krai", Mikhail Shubich admitted in court that he had violated the Law "On Advertisement" and promised not to admit such violations in the future. He also told the court that the newspaper had published the information it had received from the Department of Culture of the Baranavichy City Executive Committee. The representatives of the Baranavichy DEC Dzmitry Varvashenia and Tatsiana Evmiankova also admitted in court that they hadn't enough time to publish in the official newspaper the information that the planned event had been to 10 p.m. due to the possibility of rain. Dzmitry Varvashenia even asked the court to attach to the case materials a photo of the event which had been held at that time. By the way, only two people could be seen in the photo. The representatives of the DEC stated they had informed the local dwellers about the postponement of the action through the local school and the village club. However, they didn't explain how it had been done.

 “At the end of the trial I read an excerpt from the judgment of the Baranavichy City Court of 31 July about bringing me to the administrative liability of a fine of 2 million rubles. In the reasoning of this decision is stated that on 30 May the Department of Culture filed to the Baranavichy District Police Department an official letter to cancel the scheduled event near the Milavidy monuments on 2 June. I think it became clear to the court that the officers of the executive committee not only got confused in their own explanations, but were also trying to mislead the court. It means that on 30 May the executive committee at first announced that it would hold the festival near Milavidy, then canceled the event, but nevertheless some of its officials held it on 2 June. It looks like a comedy,” concluded Viktar Syrytsa.

Therefore, the social activist filed a petition to the court to send an inquiry to the district police department in order to find out whether it had received the letter of the Department of Culture of the Baranavichy DEC of 30 May concerning the cancellation of the cultural event scheduled for 2 June.

Judge Volha Apanasik granted the petition and postponed the court hearings to 26 August.

In the photo: Viktar Syrytsa and the chief editor of “Nash Krai” Mikhail Shubin at court.