Appeal of distributor of “Vitebsk Kuryer” registered at UN Human Rights Committee
The appeal of Mikhail Zhurauliou, filed under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, was registered under the number 2495/2014. The official note about it was received by human rights activist Pavel Levinau, who assisted in drawing the appeal.
In 2012, officers of the Pershamaiski District Police Department drew a report of administrative offense by Mikhail Zhurauliou, accusing him of illegal distribution of the newspaper "Vitebskiy Kuryer". Judge of the Pershamaiski District Court of Vitsebsk Natallia Karablina fined the defendant 2.5 mln roubles, which was equal to 1.5 of his montly pension.
Mr. Zhurauliou appealed the verdict at the Vitsebsk Regional Court, but to no avail: Judge Iryna Smaliakova upheld the verdict of the court of the first instance. The same was done by Chair of the Vitsebsk Regional Court, Valery Kalinkovich.
"Bringing Mikhail Zhurauliou to administrative liability for expressing his views by distributing printed media violated his right to freedom of information, guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations. Imposition of an administrative penalty for the dissemination of information is evasion by the Republic of Belarus, represented by the aforementioned judges and institutions, from the commitments regarding the inadmissibility of actions aimed at the destruction of the rights and freedoms provided by the Covenant,” commented Mr. Levinau.
The UN Human Rights Committee has already considered about 100 applications of citizens of the Republic of Belarus regarding violation of their rights and freedoms. In most cases, violation of these rights by the Republic of Belarus was recognized. 70 more appeals are pending at the Human Rights Committee.