Vitsebsk Regional Court rejects supervisory appeal against ban on picket against police lawlessness
A reply signed by the Chairman of the Vitsebsk Regional Court Mikalai Khamichonak was received doctor Ihar Pastnou, who is famous for his criticism of authorities. He tried to challenge the decision of the Kastrychnitski District Court, which dismissed his appeal against the district administration. The latter did not allow him to hold a rally against police lawlessness.
The picket was scheduled for January 12 and was expected to be held at an officially authorized location. However, Ihar Pastnou’s bid was dismissed on the grounds that he did not attach to his application contracts with police, healthcare and housing departments.
Such procedures of applying for permission to hold public events are provided by a decision of the Vitsebsk city executive committee. Local human rights defenders and opposition activists believe that it is contrary to the law on mass events and creates artificial barriers for citizens who want to exercise their right to express their opinions publicly.
Over the past four years, the district administration has not given any permission to hold pickets or rallies. The organizers tried to negotiate with the responsible services to meet the conditions of the city authorities, but doctors, housing officials and police officers for various reasons refused to sign such contracts.
As for Ihar Pastnou’s event, the picket was planned to be staged by one person only and he was ready to take responsibility for the cleanliness and order during it:
“I am a doctor myself, and can provide medical care. I was not going to litter in the park so that I had to clean it afterwards. As for the police protection, I had planned to invite to the event as many police officers as possible, as the theme of violence against citizens in police institutions is extremely urgent. So police attendance would be provided anyway.”
However, the Kastrychnitski district administration has banned Pastnou’s event, which he saw as a silent rally in commemoration of victims of the illegal actions by the police.
His complaint to the District Court did not help, after it said that the ban was legal, because he did not fulfill the requirements of local authorities. Later, a similar complaint was rejected by the Regional Court, and now by the Chairman of the Regional Court. The written denial has been posted on the website freeregion.info, where Ihar Pastnou has his own blog.