Homel Regional Court upholds fine for disabled protester
Civil society activist Yury Liashenka appealed the judgment of the Svetlahorsk District Court, who found him guilty of holding an illegal picket. As a result, he was punished by a fine of 2 basic units on charges of violation of Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. On November 25, the disabled activist staged a picket at the central square of Svetlahorsk in order to attract public attention to the problems of people with disabilities. However, the picket was disrupted by an ambulance who took the activist to hospital. Earlier, the activist asked the executive committee to give permission for the rally, but the authorities banned the event, citing that the expected location (central square of the city) was not on the list of places authorized by a decision of the executive committee. Meanwhile, the decision mentions only one place for pickets and rallies – “a stage in the park of culture and recreation”. Now the District Court is hearing an appeal against the ban. However, as it turned out, the activist could not have held a picket in the authorized location, because the “stage” does not exist in reality. Nevertheless, the authorities persistently told activists to stage their pickets and rallies there.
On January 23, the Homel Regional Court heard an appeal against the administrative penalty imposed on the activist. The appeal was considered by Judge Anatol Sotnikau. The applicant said that he considered the sentencing illegal because it violated his constitutional rights, at least, the right to freedom of expression. Yuriy Liashenka also stressed that the site for pickets and rallies, which was determined by the executive committee, did not exist in reality. “Did the executive committee give you permission to hold the picket?”asked the judge. After receiving a negative response, Anatol Sotnikau immediately read out his decision: “The decision of the Court of Svetlahorsk district remains in place, Yury Liashenka’s appeal is dismissed.”
The activist says the decision was predictable, however, he will continue his struggle, and will appeal the ruling.