Lohvinau bookstore seeks registration
The Minsk-based Lohvinau bookstore is seeking registration of the business as a distributor of publications. The Supreme Court has held a preliminary hearing on the case. The trial will continue on January 30, according to the press service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
During the past year, the bookstore owner, Ihar Lohvinau, filed six applications asking the Ministry of Information to issue a license. However, all attempts were not a success.
“The Ministry of Information denied us registration for absolutely ridiculous reasons. We believe that the officials did it deliberately and violates the law,” said Ihar Lohvinau after the preliminary hearing in the Supreme Court.
In his lawsuit, the publisher focused on the fact that the founder’s zip code is not a prerequisite for registration. And it was a mistake in the founder’s zip code that became the basis of denying registration by the Ministry of Information.
According to the bookstore representatives, there is no requirement to specify the zip code in the documents of the Ministry of Information. In addition, the zip code may change and is never indicated in the address that can be found in Lohvinau’s passport. There is no zip code in the address of the apartment where the businessman is registered.
“It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Information during the year received our documents six times. And each time with the documents were rejected for a new reason. We believe that the officials should have checked all the documents and immediately reported about all the mistakes that they allegedly noticed. It is defined by the Law “On the Main Administrative Procedures”, which provides for the primacy of the interests of the person concerned,” said at the hearing Lohvinau’s representative Siarhei Zikratski.
Employees of the Ministry of Information, just like in the trial against the Narodnaya Volia newspaper, insisted on their own arguments. In support of their position, they announced their intention to demonstrate a letter from the Belposhta enterprise concerning the address of registration of Ihar Lohvinau.
The main hearing of the suit against the Ministry of Information is scheduled for January 30. Ihar Lohvinau does not rule out that a positive decision in this case can influence the fate of appealing the decision of the Economic Court of Minsk, which is punished the publisher with a huge fine and ordered to recover 961 million Belarusian rubles of the company’s last year’s revenue. Ihar Lohvinau has already filed a cassation appeal against the decision.
In 2013, the Ministry of Information deprived the entrepreneur of a publishing license for the release of the album “Belarus Press Photo 2011”, which was labeled an extremist edition by officials almost two years after its publication.