Human rights defender Pavel Levinau fined 3.75 mln rubles
Pavel Levinau requested that the trial be postponed due to his illness. But Judge Alena Tsyhankova of the Vitsebsk Chuhunachny District Court considered the request as an attempt to delay the trial. She rejected all the requests by Pavel Levinau and issued two formal warnings for the fact that there were “too many” of them.
Pavel Levainau was the last participant in a photo session with birds and cages to be convicted of violating the law on mass events. The seven administrative cases under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code for “unauthorized picketing” stemmed from a photo session of Vitsebsk journalists and civil society activists who were photographed against a graffiti depicting paper birds and cages.
The trial of Pavel Levinau began on December 12 and then Judge Alena Tsyhankova allowed to videotape the trial. Today, seeing a camera in the hands of journalist Kanstantsin Mardzvintsau the judge said that shooting could only be done by Levinau himself. As a result, he had to bring motions and to testify holding a video camera.
However, the Judge did not grant a single request by Pavel Levinau, including a request to attach photos and materials from the Internet, which indicates particular interest of the Vitsebsk police in the photo session by journalists and activists, whose actions were qualified as “unauthorized picketing”.
In particular, Pavel Levinau petitioned to attach the photos of a real rally, which he staged in November 2013 in the territory of that same Chyhunachny district:
“These photos were found on the Internet. But for some reason they caused no interest of the police. Over the past year, the law has not changed, but the police grew interested: Lieutenant Colonel Aliaksandr Kalinouski, an employee of the regional police administration, ordered employees of the Chyhunachny district police department to address the persons whose actions had “signs of an offense”. I have no idea why the police cared so much about the photo session of journalists and civil society activists. But they do, they surely do! Mayor Aliaksandr Rybakou, who charged the activists, could not explain anything about it, either. He just kept repeating the same thing: that we, when being photographed, expressed “our social and political interests, as independent press is reportedly being oppressed in the country”.
The human rights activist has received two warnings from the judge, who said that he was delaying the trial. Ms. Tsyhankova was in such a hurry to finish it that she did not allow a two-minute break so that Levinau could bring his appeal to the chairman of the court in the next room.
Two requests to impeach the judge were also rejected, and 45 minutes after the beginning of the proceedings Alena Tsyhankova read out the decision: Pavel Levinau was fined 25 basic units for “participation in an unauthorized picket”.
Other participants in the photo session have been convicted starting from November 28. A fine of 20 basic units was imposed on journalists Alena Stsiapanava (Judge Dzianis Hubanau), Kanstantsin Mardzvintsau (Judge Alena Tsyhankova), Dzmitry Kazakevich (Judge Alena Tsyhankova). A fine of 18 basic units was received by activist of the BCD’s organizing committee Alena Shabunia (Judge Dzianis Hubanau), BCD’s Vitsebsk coordinator Tatsiana Seviarynets was also awarded with a fine of 25 basic units (Judge Alena Tsyhankova). The same judge sentenced Piotr Biarlinau, a passer-by who joined the photo shoot, to three days of arrest.