Brest Regional Court turns down appeal by human rights activist Siarhei Housha
Judge Nina Ustsimchuk of the Brest Regional Court said in her ruling that there were no grounds for cancellation of the decision of the court of the city of Baranavichy and Baranavichy district, which upheld the city authorities’ ban on a picket dedicated to the International Human Rights Day.
The ban referred to lack of agreement with the police. However, the police refused to enter into a contract, as the Council of Ministers’ Decree No. 207 states that the issue of protection of law and order should be in the competence of the executive committee after receiving an application for the event. The executive committee should have amended its regulations and bring them into compliance with the Council of Ministers’ decree. A year ago, Baranavichy human rights activists appealed to the Brest Regional Executive Committee and the Regional Department of Internal Affairs to ask them to oblige the executive committee to do so, and received a positive response. However, the city authorities stubbornly stuck to their decision.
Judges of the Baranavichy Court and in the Brest Regional Court said that while the executive committee’s decision was active, the ban on the picket was legitimate.
The courts once again ignored Article 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that freedom of rallies, marches, demonstrations and picketing that do not violate the rule of law and the rights of citizens should be guaranteed by the state.
For almost six years, no public events, including pickets have been allowed in Baranavichy.