Human rights activist appeals picket ban to Brest Regional Court
Human rights activist from Baranavichy Siarhei Housha has sent an appeal to the Judicial Board on Civil Cases of the Brest Regional Court to challenge the decision of the Baranavichy District and City Court of 27 January, which upheld the ban on a picket ordered by the city executive committee on 10 December 2014. Siarhei Housha says that he disagrees with the decision of the trial court and that by the Baranovichi executive committee, which, in his opinion, illegally banned a rally expected to mark the 66th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The human rights activist points out that the city court for some reason did not notice that the city authorities violated the law on mass events, as they failed to specify the reasons for the ban and that local officials violated the deadline of replying to the applicant.
Siarhei Housha adds that the court also failed to take into account his explanation of the illegality of a requirement by the executive committee urging the applicants to enter into agreements with the police for maintaining public order during mass events, thus violating provisions of the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of 5 March 2012.
According to the human rights activist, the court did not even mention that Mr. Housha had provided numerous evidence that the city police had formally refused for many years to enter into agreements with applicants, demanding authorization from the executive committee first.
Siarhei Housha stresses that Judge Volha Apanovich refused to attach to the civil case a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee of 2012, which found that the Baranavichy city executive committee violated the rights of Siarhei Housha, Viktar Syrytsa and Viktar Miaziak to peaceful assembly. This is a very important document, by which the Committee recommended local officials to democratize their decision and its implementation.
According to the activist, representatives of the executive committee argued in court that he did not ensure measures related to health care and cleaning of the territory after the rally, which he says is absurd.
“Our application had attached copies of contracts with the clinic and public utilities. Also, the application mentioned our obligation to undertake to ensure public order. But the judge did not notice these documents, too,” said Siarhei Housha. “The human rights activist asks to cancel the court’s decision as unfounded and illegal. He also requests to cancel the ban impose on the picket and order the Baranavichy city executive committee to adhere to the requirements of Article 6 of the Law “On Mass Events in the Republic of Belarus”, according to which the authorities should specify the reasons for imposing a ban on a mass event, and the organizers must be notified no later than five days before the date of holding the mass event.