BSDP Deputy Chairman appeals fine over newspaper distribution
On August 29, Ihar Barysau, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada), has filed an appeal in the Mahiliou Regional Court. In his complaint, the Social Democrat demands to cancel the decision of Judge Stanislau Leuchanka of the court of Mahiliou district of August 12.
According to Ihar Barysau, the judge’s decision can be canceled just for formal reasons, since the court failed to establish which printed materials he was carrying in his car (flyers, newsletters or newspapers), which of the paragraphs of Article 17 of the Law “On Mass Media” he violated, as well as the fact that the trial record is different from the verdict.
In addition, BSDP Deputy Chairman argues that the judgment is contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the standards of international law, according to which every citizen has the right to freedom of expression and the free flow of information.
On July 16, road police stopped the car of ex-presidential candidate of the BPF, Ryhor Kastusiou, and deputy chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) Ihar Barysau. The traffic police checked the documents and told them that a similar Mercedes was allegedly involved in hooliganism in Byalynichy. The police officers told the activists to follow them to the Mahiliou District Police Department, despite the fact that they had valid documents. The policemen checked the trunk, where they found printed materials, but did not open the packs, escorting the car to the police station, instead. In the police department, the police officers complied interrogation and search reports, and then seized the publications until the trial. The police seized a total of 12,000 independent newspapers: the newsletter “Social Democrat”, which told about the People’s Referendum and the newspaper “Nash Mahiliou” dedicated to the information campaign “Save Old Mahiliou”. The activists were held for almost three hours. On July 23, Ihar Barysau was summoned to the police department of the Mahiliou district where Major Siarhei Haliantau officially charged him with an administrative offense. Ihar Barysau was accused of violating Article 22.9, Part 2 of the Administrative Code, according to which he, not being a distributor of mass media, in violation of Article 17 of the Law “On Mass Media”, transported in his own car 11,800 copies of BSDP flyers and the newsletter “Nash Mahiliou”, which is in accordance with Article 1 of the Law “On Mass Media” distribution of media products. Major Haliantau said that he would forward the case to the court the same day. Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) stressed that he did not agree with the charges, as he did not distribute printed products, but was simply carrying them. As a result,a decision of the Mahiliou District Court sentenced the Social Democrat to a fine of 4.5 million rubles.