Uladzimir Labkovich insists on penalty for judge
Uladzimir Labkovich, member of the Board of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", filed on October 18 a complaint to the Minsk City Court against the decision of Savetski District Court. The human rights defender disagrees with the penalty he was punished with for the dissemination of information materials about the head of the organization and political prisoner Ales Bialiatski.
The decision was issued on October 8 by deputy chairman of Savetski District Court of Minsk Eduard Yakubouski, who considered the administrative charges brought against the human rights defender.
Uladzimir Labkovich appealed the penalty of August 6, 2013 to the Minsk City Court. The ruling dealt with alleged “violation of the procedure for organizing and holding mass events”. The Minsk City Court ruled to overturn this ruling and sent the case to the district court for reconsideration by a new judge.
As a result, an administrative penalty against the human rights defender remained the same – a fine of 30 basic units.
This time, Uladzimir Labkovich reports to the Minsk City Court that at the time of submitting the appeal he did not even know what was the basis for the court’s decision to find him guilty of an administrative offense. “During the trial, Judge Eduard Yakubouski, who presided over the court meeting, briefed me only on the final decision, as due to the lack of electricity in the courthouse at the time of consideration of my complaint he could not, in his words, print out the full text of the decision,” says the human rights defender.
It turns out that "for technical reasons" Judge Yakubouski deprived Labkovich of his right to protection under appeal procedures. “In fact, I can only guess of what I was actually found guilty,” says Uladzimir Labkovich in the complaint.
The human rights defender views the court ruling illegal and subject to cancellation. He did not admit his guilt of the offense, which explained in the course of the administrative trial, “As a member of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, at the time specified in the location specified [along with a colleague Tatsiana Reviaka he was detained on August 5, 2013 in Independence Avenue near the Central Department Store - Ed.] I distributed postcards to inform citizens of Belarus about the fate of Ales Bialiatski, a prominent human rights defender, chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", who is serving a criminal sentence on trumped-up charges... My detention in this case limited my right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful public events (including the interpretation of the distribution of postcards as a picket and a picket as a public event under the national law).”
Labkovich reminds the court that the Constitution of Belarus and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights entitle citizens with the right to freely impart information and ideas through a variety of ways of their own choosing, while restrictions of that right must be based on the law and be necessary in a democratic society. Moreover, interference must be proportionate to the stated objectives and should not lead to further restrictions on socially significant interests.
The complaint asks to overturn the ruling of Savetski District Court of Minsk of October 8 and to close the case on the administrative violation. Besides, Uladzimir Labkovich insists on prosecuting Judge Eduard Yakubouski for failure to issue a copy of the decision of an administrative offense, which deprived him of the possibility of appealing the fine.