Hrodna Regional Court turns down appeal by freelance journalist
The Hrodna Regional Court considered today an appeal by Radio Racyja journalist Andrei Mialeshka against a ruling by the Kastrychnitski District Court, who found him guilty of producing information for foreign media without accreditation.
The trial was extremely short. It took only ten minutes for Judge Aliaksei Tsviatkou to consider all the details of the case and to dismiss Andrei Mialeshka’s complaint. The judge only asked a few questions and left the decision of the court of first instance in force.
Andrei Mialeshka says he is not going to give up and will appeal against the decision to higher courts.
At the beginning of the trial, a police officer on duty refused to let into the courtroom local human rights activist Viktar Sazonau. He said he had orders not to let anyone except those involved in the case. The policeman also argued that there were no vacant seats. Then Andrei Mialeshka came out and said that the room was empty, while Viktar Sazonau still insisted on negotiating such actions with the Secretariat of the Court. The policeman made a phone call and asked the name of the human rights defender, then he reaffirmed that he could not attend the trial. It was not until the Judge ordered to meet a demand by Andrei Mialeshka that the human rights activist was let inside.
Earlier, Andrei Mialeshka was charged with illegal manufacture and distribution of information products and fined.