Activist fined in Baranavichy
On July 21, the Baranavichy City Court found individual entrepreneur Mikalai Charnavus guilty of violating Part 3, Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus for organizing on July 1 an unauthorized event of local entrepreneurs at the city’s central market.
The charges were considered by Judge Yauhen Brehan. Mikalai Charnavus pleaded not guilty and immediately requested to impeach the court, which admitted an administrative violation report compiled with numerous irregularities. The civil society activist argued that the report did not specify the witnesses of a search carried out at his apartment, as they had never existed in reality. He added that the report failed to mention the place and time of his arrest, that Major Aliaksei Hetsman compiled his administrative report for five hours and refused to call an ambulance for a disabled activist. The activist told the court that the police did not give him an opportunity to get acquainted with the materials of his administrative case after its preparation for consideration in court. Therefore, Mikalai Charnavus expressed his distrust in the court. However, Judge Yauhen Brehan rejected the motion and continued its consideration of the administrative case.
Of the three witnesses mentioned in the report, only one appeared in the courtroom. It was the director of the market Vital Rakhmedzhanau, who could not confirm in court that it was Mikalai Charnavus who organized the unauthorized event on July 1.
In turn, the activist’s lawyer Zoya Haudzei urged the court to stop administrative proceedings against Mikalai Charnavus and to dismiss the case because of lack of evidence against the activist. However, the judge found him guilty and sentenced the activist to an administrative fine of 4.5 million rubles.
The activist intends to appeal against the verdict to the superior judiciary body.