Journalist Tamara Shchapiotkina not allowed to attend her trial
On March 6, freelance journalist T. Shchapiotkina was summoned to the Leninski District Court of Brest by an SMS-message. The journalist saw the message only in the evening, but decided to come to the trial together with her counsel.
The court was to consider the administrative case against her, initiated on charges of Shchapiotkina's collaboration with a foreign media (Belarusian Radio “Racyja”) without accreditation. She wasn't present during the compiling of the violation report by the police. At the first court hearing the report was sent back for revising, which was again carried out in her absence.
The journalist arrived in court 40 minutes before the scheduled time, for which there are witnesses. At 9.10 a.m. a court official phoned the counsel and asked whether he and his client will attend the heaering. Nevertheless, the case was considered by Judge Aliaksandr Semianchuk in their absence. The judge also refused to inform Shchapiotkina and her lawyer about the verdict. As a result, the journalist made an entrance in the complaint book, addressing the head of the court, Piatro Babrouski, concerning the denial of justice.
The report of administrative offense states that on January 8, 2015 T. Schapiotkina, working as an unaccredited journalist in Belarus, took an interview from an office of the traffic police of the Brest District Police Department, Siarhei Nelipovich, near house No. 41 in Chyrvonahvardzeiskaya Street. The interview was allegedly posted on the Internet at the website of the Polish radio station "Radio Racyja". According to the violation report, Tamara Shchapiotkina violated the requirements of Part 4 of Art. 35 and 36 of the Law "On Mass Media", thus committing an offense under Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code (illegal manufacturing media products).
According to Tamara Shchapiotkina she didn't take any interviews from Siarhei Nelipovich on January 8, and there was no interview at the website of Radio “Racyja” at all. Any visitor of the website of the Belarisian Radio “Racyja” could hear a short comment by the captain of the traffic police Nelipovich, who said that Belchuk had beaten him, he had had a smashed nose and blood running from it.