Baranavichy human rights defender appeals fine to Supreme Court Chairman
Human rights defender Siarhei Housha filed a complaint with Chairman of the Supreme Court Valiantsin Sukala to challenge a decision by the Court of Baranavichy and Baranavichy district of August 21, 2012 to fine him 1.5 mln rubles. The charges stemmed from a statement by head of Baranavichy district election commission Tatsiana Latyshava in which she claimed that the human rights defender insulted her and swore at the commission members.
Disagreeing with the court of first instance, Mr. Housha appealed the verdict to higher courts. However, the Brest Regional Court and then the Supreme Court dismissed the activist’s appeals.
In his complaint, Siarhei Housha explains that the courts at all levels viewed his complaint in a biased way and that the judges did not check the evidence collected, that the administrative offense report was drafted in violation of the law. The human rights activist says he did not use any offensive language when talking to the election official, and this is confirmed by an audio recording of this conversation. However, the courts would not recognize the recording as evidence in the case.
Meanwhile, Siarhei Housha argues that the audio is a proof. But since the document refutes the defender’s guilt of the administrative offense, the courts simply ignore it. Siarhei Housha also says that a phonoscopic examination of the recording revealed no swearing. Besides, the examination confirmed that the recording was made by the human rights activist that it was not edited. The assessments were given by the Forensic Centre of Criminology of the Ministry of Justice and were attached to the case file when considered by the Brest Regional Court, who, however, did not take it into account and did not even mention it in its reply to the human rights defender.
In a response signed by the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court, in turn, there were only four small paragraphs, each of them consisting of several words, just to report that the complaint was not granted. At the same time, none of the mentioned facts of illegal sentencing received assessment by the highest judicial authority in the country.
Siarhei Housha urges the Chairman of the Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the Brest Regional Court of March 21, 2013 and that of the Baranovichi District and City Court of July 21, 2012.