Homel journalists sue Prosecutor’s Office over warnings

2014 2014-06-20T14:34:24+0300 2014-06-20T14:34:24+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/bianko-sivec.jpg
Yuliya Sivets and Mikalai Bianko

Yuliya Sivets and Mikalai Bianko

Two journalists in Homel are suing local Prosecutor’s Office. In early May, Mikalai Bianko and Yuliya Sivets were warned by the Homel Regional Prosecutor’s Office for working for foreign media without accreditation, Radio Racyja reports.

The freelance journalist appealed against the warnings, but this had no effect. Therefore, Mikalai Bianko has filed a lawsuit against the penalty, which he says is illegal:

- We appealed against this warning to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, then to the highest bodies – the Prosecutor General’s Office, and now we’ve reached the Tsentralny District Court. Certainly, we have no positive expectations that the court will be independent. The trial will be held by a judge, who is well known among the Homel opposition movement, Maryna Damnenkava. As calculated by human rights defenders, she has sentenced the regime’s opponents to a total of 190 days in prison. So, obviously, it would be a political trial.

The trial in the case will be held in the second half of June. The journalist says that he is ready to go through all possible instances in order to prove a violation of his rights to collect and disseminate information:

- If, for example, the court will side with the Prosecutor’s Office, we will appeal to the higher authority and the UN Human Rights Committee. How can it help? It can help register the violations of human rights in Belarus. In the future, it will all be taken into consideration, and we hope that this attack on freedom of speech will not be repeated in the future.

The other day, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic expressed her deep concern about the increasing number of fines imposed on Belarusian journalists for working without accreditation. She recalled fines to journalists Andrei Mialeshka, Aliaksandr Dzianisau and Ales Zaleuski and warnings issued to Sviatlana Stsiapanava, Yauhen Skrabets, Yuliya Sivets, Mikalai Bianko and Yury Dziashuk.