Mahiliou Regional Court turns down appeal by independent journalist

2014 2014-11-21T17:08:56+0300 2014-11-21T17:08:56+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Aliaksandr Burakou

Aliaksandr Burakou

On November 20, the Mahiliou Regional Court heard an appeal lodged by independent journalist Aliaksandr Burakou against the Court of Mahiliou’s Leninski district, who sentenced him to a fine of 6 mln rubles for violation of legislation on mass media (Art. 22.9, Part 2 of the Administrative Code, “illegal manufacture and distribution of media products”).

The consideration of the appeal lasted almost two hours. Aliaksandr Burakou in his speech explained why he believed that the punishment imposed on him should be reversed. In particular, the freelance journalist focused on the fact that he himself, as an individual, could not “produce and distribute” the article “Smuggler’s Trail: Do Russian sanctions work near border?”, which was posted on the website on August 25, 2014.

As a result of the consideration, Judge Mikhail Melnikau ruled to uphold the decision of the court of Leninski district and to dismiss Aliaksandr Burakou’s complaint. The judge also said that the journalist was expected to receive reasoning of the decision within three days.

Aliaksandr Burakou says he will definitely submit a supervisory appeal against the decisions of the Leninski district Court and the Mahiliou Regional Court to the chairman of the Mahiliou Regional Court Ihar Proshka. According to the independent journalist, he is ready to prove his innocence in all national courts and, if necessary, at the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

On October 8, Judge Alena Volkava of the Leninski District Court of Mahiliou sentenced Aliaksandr Burakou to a fine of 6 million rubles, finding the journalist guilty of violating Part 2, Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code, illegal production and distribution of media products.

The sentence stemmed from a publication posted on the website on August 25, 2014. The material was signed by Aliaksandr Burakou.

In the morning of September 16, the private apartment of Aliaksandr Burakou was searched by the police. As a result of the search, the police seized two laptops and two memory sticks. Later on the same day, the policemen searched the apartment of the journalist’s parents, and seized two PCs.