Judge in Babruisk denies elderly women’s right to legal assistance
On January 27, Judge Maryna Sheliahina of Babruisk District and City Court did not allow the presence at a trial of a representative of two local women, Valiantsina Kavalenka and Liubou Sankevich.
On December 6, they filed their complaint against the city executive committee, which on December 5 denied women’s right to stage a picket. The elderly women intended to hold a rally on December 10, Human Rights Day, to draw attention to the violation of the applicants’ civil rights and the painful problem of issuing formal replies by officials and deputies.
On January 27, at the beginning of the court session, Ms. Sankevich and Ms. Kavalenka requested assistance from a legal representative, as guaranteed by Article 62 of the Constitution of Belarus. Moreover, his authority was confirmed by a notarized power of attorney.
However, the judge, considering the opinion of Babruisk officials, head of the executive committee’s ideology department Mikalai Baliuk and the legal counsel Valiantsina Dahoker, rejected the motion.
In this situation, the women were forced to leave the courtroom because they could not protect their rights without legal support. According to them, the results of the trial were predetermined, because the judge created unequal conditions for the parties in the trial.
Ms. Sankevich and Ms. Kavalenka left a complaint in the court’s book of comments and suggestions and intend to protect their rights in accordance with the basic law of the country, says local human rights lawyer Tamara Siarhei.