Homel Regional Court dismisses appeal of human rights activist Uladzimir Tseliapun
November 11, the panel of judges of the Homel Regional Court considered the appeal of the human rights activist against the verdict of the Mozyr District Court concerning the picket ban, issued to him.
The regional court upheld the verdict of the district court. The only positive development is that the motion of Mr. Tseliapun for leading the trial in the Belarusian language was granted. Mr. Tseliapun used only Belarusian language during the court proceedings.
"Being asked by one of the judges whether the fact that the trial wasn't led in Belarus had any impact on the decision taken by the Mozyr District Court, I answered that the verdict was predictable. However, I consider the failure to comply with procedural rules of the Civil Process Code by ignoring the language that was used by one of the sides to the case as a manifestation of humiliation and discrimination based on linguistic and ethnic grounds", commented Mr. Tseliapun.
He also draws attention to the fact that the court of the first instance rejected the petition for the presence of the prosecutor at the trial, whereas at the regional court the prosecutor left the court room as soon as the turn for the consideration of the case of the human rights defender came.
Let us remind that Mozyr authorities didn't allow Uladzimir Tselipaun to hold a picket in the city. His appeal against the ban was turned down by the Mozyr District Court. Mr. Tseliapun disagreed with court ruling. He believes that the court didn't consider his appeal exhaustively and issued a biased verdict.
In his lawsuit the human rights activist reminded that public authorities, officials and other persons who have been entrusted to exercise state functions shall take the necessary measures to implement and protect the rights and freedoms of the individual. According to the law "On Mass Events", while considering the application of such application, the head of the local executive and administrative body or his deputy can change the date, time and/or place of the event on agreement of the organizer, with the aim to ensure the rights and freedoms of citizens, public safety, as well as a decent functioning of transport and state institutions.
According to the legislation, within one day since the date of the receipt of the appliaction for holding a mass event the local executive and administrative body must send a copy to the territorial authority of the Interior to deal with issues related to the protection of public order, public security and the development of relevant proposals. "Such a procedure was not performed, as evidenced by the response to the Acting Chief of the Mazyr District Police Department V. Pakshtas. Picketing is a public expression of socio-political, group or personal or interests or protest by a citizen or group of citizens. The District Court didn't clear up and did not give an explanation of the "publicity" of the event: how can the right to public expression of views be realized in the stadiums which are protected by high fences?" argues Uladzimir Tsleiapun in his appeal.
The District Court also rejected the petition and didn't provide a written decision on it in the Belarusian language, as required by the applicant.
"My complaint, presentations and questions were in the Belarusian language. Who translated my words from Belarusian into Russian? They could translate vice-versa, from Russian into Belarus, in the same way," said the human rights activist.
After the trial at the Mozyr District Court Uladzimir Tseliapun concluded that the verdict of the Mozyr District Court is incompetent (as far as court staff don't know the Belarusian language within their competence), unfair (the the requirements of the Constitution were ignored), and biased (as he, Belarusian, was denied the right to receive the court ruling in the official Belarusian language).