Picket banned for one reason, another one named in court
Dzmitry Lupach (pictured), an activist from the town of Hlybokaye, tried to challenge in court a ban on a picket of solidarity with political prisoners imposed by the district authorities after local restrictions on holding mass events had changed. This was written in an official letter from the executive committee. However, the court suddenly named a different reason for the ban that was recognized as legitimate.
The reason voiced in court today could be corrected in a timely manner, says Dzmitry Lupach:
“We submitted the application for 23 November six weeks prior to this date. But in a letter signed by the chairman of the executive committee A. Morkhat it was written that the picket was banned because the committee had selected other places for pickets and rallies. This refusal is illegal: if the chairman of the district executive committee writes that the new decision is undergoing a legal examination and registration, the old rules must be active, unless they are canceled. That’s what I wrote in my complaint to the court. I argued that citizens’ rights to public expression were violated because there could be no "break" between the old and the new rules.”
In court, says the activist, a representative of the legal department of the executive committee explained why the authorized places for mass events were questioned. It turns out that the place where it was still possible to picket in 2012 now became too cramped: the traffic police asked for more room for cars that come for inspection.
“The place now proposed by the authorities is not worse. But then the representative of the executive committee suddenly remembered that I had not filed together with my application contracts for maintenance of the event. So why did then they ban it on other grounds? But for this confusion with the decisions, old and new, we could manage to do everything in due time! Under the law on mass events it should be like this: the authorities give permission, and then the organizers apply for contracts. And what we got was an immediate ban, which was illegal. It looks like the executive committee does not know the law and does not want to observe it,” says the activist.
Indirectly, this is confirmed by the following facts. Only in court, he learned that the new decision of the executive committee had already been approved on November 1, and is already in force. The district newspaper “Vesnik Hlybochchyny” has not reported on this, and the section “Normative Legal Acts” on the weekly’s website does not work at all.
“Last time I stage a picket in Hlybokaye was in 2011. Then they did not require service contracts, and it was real to get permission. By the way, then we also raised the issue of political prisoners. Now our executive committee adopted the tactics of Vitsebsk authorities, who invented the following sequence: first the contracts, then the permission. And no one would sign a contract until the authorities gave s permission,” comments on the decision of the court activist of the movement "For Freedom" Yaraslau Bernikovich.