Mahiliou journalist Aliaksandr Burakou appeals against fine
January 31, Aliaksandr Burakou filed an appeal to Chairman of the Mahiliou Regional Court. He asks to quash the verdict of Judge Alena Volkava of the Leninski District Court of Mahiliou of October 8, 2014 (according to which he was sentenced to a fine of 6 million rubles) and the verdict of Judge Melnikau of the Mahiliou Regional Court, which supported the verdict.
Mr. Burakou asks the regional court to reprimand Judge Volkava for delivering an intentionally illegal ruling and the Leninski District Police Department for violating the his rights as journalist.
He also asks to provide all police officers with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the law on the media and other laws necessary for their work.
“Filing an appeal can be called a technical procedure. If the court's chairman cancels previous decisions, he will come into conflict with his colleagues, so I think this development is unlikely. I think he will uphold the court decisions. Human rights defenders and I find more and more arguments to prove that the rulings were wrong. We plan to apply to the Supreme Court. If we don't find justice there, we will apply to the UN Human Rights Committee,” Aliaksandr Burakou says.
Judge of Mahilou's Leninski District Court Alena Volkava fined Aliaksandr Burakou 6 mln roubles on October 8, under part 2 of article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Offences (illegal production and distribution of media products).
The ground for the court decision was Aliaksandr Burakou's article “Paths of smuggler: Do Russian sanctions work in near-border regions?” published on the website of Deutsche Welle on August 25, 2014.
On September 16, officers of the Leninski District Police Department of Mahilou raided Burakou's flat on the order of a prosecutor to “search the site of the administrative offence”. The ground for the raid was three articles signed by Burakou that were published on the website of Deutsche Welle. The police seized two laptops and two flash drives. The home of the journalist's parents was also searched. Two computer cases were seized.