Human rights defenders sue Homel authorities
Human rights defenders Leanid Sudalenka and Anatol Paplauny have lodged a lawsuit with the Homel Tsentralny District Court against the City Executive Committee, who banned a picket in support of political prisoners scheduled for August 4.
The ban referred to the applicants’ obligation to sign contracts with local healthcare and utilities departments. It is on this basis that during the last ten years Homel officials have not allowed a single street protest. Numerous attempts to negotiate with the services do not bring any results: the clinic refers to the lack of ambulances, while the utilities cite absence of personnel for cleaning.
The officials also referred to the fact that the applicants had planned to hold the event in the central square, while the current restrictions allow holding pickets in only two places – a remote industrial area and outside a stadium on the outskirts of the city.
As reported by Leanid Sudalenka, the country has no mechanisms to protect the right to freedom of expression through peaceful assembly, as the courts, including the Supreme Court, keep supporting illegal decisions by executive officials.
“The only way out of this deadlock situation is submitting a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee. By doing this, we draw international attention to the problem of the lack of opportunities in the country to publicly express opinion through holding peaceful assemblies, which we are actively doing,” says the human rights activist.
The UN Human Rights Committee has already registered a complaint by the Homel human rights defenders against a ban on a picket protesting against the detention of Ales Bialiatski expected to be held in August 2011. In addition, the Committee has registered their joint complaint with the ex-mayor of Homel, Sviatlana Haldade, against a ban on a number of pickets marking one year since Bialiatski’s arrest, August 4, 2012. Another ban on a street procession scheduled for August 4, 2013 has been followed by a joint complaint with politician Yury Varonezhtsau.