Khotsimsk police send apologies to activist, but fails to name internet detractors
On July 16, an opposition activist from the town of Khotsimsk, Valery Karankevich, finally received a response from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to his complaint to the Minister, in which he asked to cancel previous decisions by Mahiliou police chiefs, who ordered to close an administrative case opened after his statement was sent to the police.
The written response, signed by acting chief of the law enforcement and prevention department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, A. Karazei, and dated July 11, says that Valery Karankevich’s complaint was examined in accordance with the Law “On petitions from citizens and legal persons”.
Colonel Karazei told the activist that employees of the Khotsimsk district police department and the police department of the Mahiliou Regional Executive Committee committed certain violations when considering his complaints. As a result, the departments’ activities will be checked and their heads were instructed to exercise better control over the organization of administrative procedures. The letter also states that the results of the official investigation will be reported to Mr. Karankevich later.
“We apologize for lack of professionalism in the actions of the police employees,” says the reply from the Ministry.
At the same time, Colonel Karazei says that, in accordance with paragraph 1, Part 1, Art. 7.6 of the Administrative Code, the period of two months for imposing an administrative penalty under Art. 9.3 (slander) of the Administrative Code has expired, and despite the activist’s statement of alleged dissemination of information affecting his honor and dignity, the fact became the basis for the termination of the administrative proceedings.
The activist is however told that in accordance with Art. 153 (protection of honor, dignity and business reputation) of the Civil Code, he is entitled to lodge a suit in civil proceedings.
Valery Karankevich says that he has not received an answer to the main question – who spread slanderous and defamatory materials against him and other civil society activists of the Mahiliou region on the Internet resource voskresinfo.com.
“Of course, this response cannot satisfy me in any way, because the employees of the Ministry did not name the people who were spreading slanderous information about me and other civil activists of the region on the Internet,” says the activist. “In my opinion, they just avoided giving a concrete answer, referring the expiration of the deadline for administrative punishment.”
Valery Karankevich, a resident of Khotsimsk, Mahiliou region, sent on June 10 a complaint to the Minister of Internal Affairs to request an investigation in order to identify the perpetrators of abuse and slander against him. In his complaint, he asked to prosecute them under the law and give a written response within the statutory period.
Earlier, Valery Karankevich filed several complaints asking to identify and charge the persons who posted on the website voskresinfo.com libelous and defamatory materials in relation to him. The complaints were submitted to the police department of Khotsimsk district and the police department of the Mahiliou Regional Executive Committee. However, the law enforcers could not find these individuals.
On the eve of this year’s local elections, the website regularly published defamatory content about a number of pro-democracy activists and independent candidates for the local councils of the Mahiliou region.