Mahiliou Regional Court completely sides with executive power
The Mahiliou Regional Court considered today two complaints filed by human rights activists Barys Bukhel and Aliaksei Kolchyn. In the first case, the court presided over by Judge Sviatlana Stalmakhova dismissed the case on the complaint against Mahiliou city executive committee’s decision to allow the only location in the city for public events.
In the second case, the Court rejected the appeal and upheld the decision of the Leninski district court dealing with a ban on a picket of solidarity with political prisoners imposed by the authorities.
The picket was to be held on August 4, exactly two years after the arrest of Ales Bialiatski.
Human rights defender Barys Bukhel says that the two trials that took place during the same day, are interrelated: "The decision of the first court is totally unexpected. The judge argued that consideration of appeals against decisions of the local government is only within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court. This is a "know-how" of the Mahiliou Regional Court. The decision itself contradicts Par.6 Art. 59 of the Law "On Local Government and Self-Government in the Republic of Belarus." It says that the decision of administrative and executive bodies that restrict or violate the rights, freedoms and interests of citizens, may be appealed to the court in accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure or economic procedural legislation," says the human rights defender. "Obviously, the city executive committee, which selected for a city of 360,000 people just one place for events, limits the rights and freedoms of citizens to hold public events; so this matter is within the jurisdiction of the Regional Court. Besides, the ruling of the Regional Court means that it deprived us of the right to appeal in court against any decisions of local authorities, as citizens are not entitled to petition the Constitutional Court, and the usual court refuses to consider such complaints.”
As for the other trial, the rights activist said, “The second trial was completely predictable, as it failed to cancel the decisions of the executive committee about the only place for public events in Mahiliou. We will appeal these judgments in the higher courts. The Court traditionally ignored violations of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression," says Barys Bukhel.
The only place in Mahiliou authorized for mass events is a plaza near the stadium "Khimik", located on the outskirts of the city.