CCP BPF deputy chair fined over memorial rally
On November 28, the Leninski District Court of Minsk considered the administrative case of the deputy chairman of the Conservative Christian Party BPF Yury Belenki and sentenced him to a fine of 4.5 million rubles for involvement in a procession to the place of execution of the victims of the Bolshevik terror that took place on November 9.
A representative of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Anastasiya Loika, who observed the trial, said the hearing started half an hour later, at 12.00. Besides, a judge of replaced ahead of the trial – instead of the previously announced Nadzeya Navitskays the case was considered by Maryna Zapasnik.
The judge granted all the motions by Mr. Belenki (involvement of a lawyer, questioning a witness), but refused to screen a video of a general meeting in the Minsk City Executive Committee on October 27, as well as a footage of the memorial action in Loshytsa.
A representative of the Minsk City Executive Committee, Yury Uralski, just like during the hearing of November 17, was rude towards the defense lawyer and did not want to answer a series of questions from Yury Belenki, himself calling them “incorrect”. The defendant argued that the security measures were agreed at the meeting of October 27 (which could be proved by the video footage), as well as before the action on November 9, and he was not notified of the procedure of payment. Besides, the charges were brought against him on November 12, although, according to the law, the CCP BPF should have paid the expenses within 10 days after the event.
As a result, Judge Maryna Zapasnik found Yury Belenki guilty of violating the law on mass events as the organizer of the memorial rally (Part 2, Art. 23.23 of the Administrative Code) and sentenced him to a fine of 4 mln rubles.
“The absurdity of the situation is that on the one hand there are no regulated procedures of payment for security measures to the Minsk city executive committee, and on the other hand, there is a contradiction of such a requirement for the organizer, as generally accepted standards of freedom of assembly provide for a positive duty of the State to ensure the protection of public order during a mass event, not an obligation of the organizers. The latest UN Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights for 2010 contains a recommendation to the Belarusian government to bring its national law on mass events in according with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. But since then the situation has only worsened, and Belarus does not have a real right to freedom of peaceful assembly, which was once again demonstrated by the court,” said Anastasiya Loika.
This is the second penalty for Yury Belenki for organizing mass gatherings on the occasion of the traditional holiday of Dziady. On November 17, the Court Pershamaiski district of Minsk sentenced him on the same charges to a fine of 3 mln rubles for a procession to the Kurapaty forest on November 2.