Mahiliou court fines local pro-dem leader Yury Novikau
On October 29, Judge Alena Volkava of Leninski District Court of Mahiliou fined the chairman of the Mahiliou regional coalition of democratic forces Yury Novikau 5,850,000 rubles for distributing leaflets and collecting signatures against a Russian airbase in the territory of Belarus.
The Judge used as evidence seven leaflets and petitions seized from Yury Novikau during the arrest that took place in the evening of September 8 in Lenin Street in Mahiliou.
“The court's decision completely contradicts the Constitution and the Law of the Republic, as the leaflets of the United Civil Party and the Belarusian Popular Front, which were found on me, as well as the petitions, are by no means the media. Especially because the leaflets had output data. We will appeal the verdict of the district court to the Mahiliou Regional Court,” says Yury Novikau.
Human rights defender Barys Bukhel notes that each leaflet cost Yury Novikau more than 800,000 rubles.
“This is a precedent that for distributing leaflets and collecting signatures people are fined as for the distribution of media. Moreover, the fine is disproportionate to the "offense",” stresses the human rights activist.