Freelance journalist appeals fine to Supreme Court
Ales Burakou, a freelance journalist in Mahiliou, has sent a supervisory appeal to the Chairman of the Supreme Court to challenge a fine imposed on him in October 2014 for his work for foreign media.
On 10 September 2014, the Leninski District Court of Mahiliou sentenced the journalist to a fine of 6,000,000 rubles. The court found Ales Burakou guilty of violating part 2 of Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code (illegal manufacturing of media products), as he allegedly “unlawfully manufactured media products”, namely an article posted on the website of the Deutsche Welle radio station. The journalist appealed against the penalty in higher courts and supervisory bodies, but the Regional Court upheld the decision on 20 November 2014; later the journalist’s complaint was dismissed by the prosecutor.
In his complaint to the Supreme Court, Ales Burakou asks to reverse the decision of the District and Regional Courts and to terminate the administrative process against him because of lack of elements of an offense.
The journalist believes that he was illegally prosecuted, because his action could not be qualified under Part 2 of Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code. The journalist also stresses numerous violations of the law that accompanied his case, starting from the seizure of his computer equipment to a ruling on his appeal.
In case the Supreme Court does not cancel the verdict, the journalist intends to complain to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.