Human rights defender faces charges for writing to police

2015 2015-04-21T18:09:31+0300 2015-04-21T18:09:31+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Pavel Levinau

Pavel Levinau

An administrative case has been opened against human rights defender Pavel Levinau, according to a letter received from the Kastryčnicki district police department of Viciebsk. The human rights activist had asked to prosecute those responsible for the distribution of Soviet flags in the city.

In a statement, Pavel Levinau said that two persons were handing out red flags with a hammer and a sickle outside the Evikom shopping center. The human rights activist asked to investigate the facts, identify the distributors, punish them for unauthorized actions and prohibit harassing passers-by and drivers in violation of traffic rules.

The regional police department replied that the letter had been forwarded to the Kastryčnicki district police department, because the mall is located in that district. The police reportedly checked the allegations, at least the case file has a few reports from police officers, says Pavel Levinau:

“There are reports that the police patrolled the area, selectively talking with shop assistants and customers, but found no one. It is a great miracle! I sent photos of the distributors, which clearly show their faces. Meanwhile after the sad photo shoot with cages and birds all participants were identified from photographs in less than two weeks, including a passerby, who joined the session. And all of them were immediately punished! And now they can’t find anyone. And it is on this basis that they concluded that there was no offense!”

A response signed by Senior Lieutenant Siarhei Viaraksa says that "in the course of an inspection the identity of the distributors have not been established. Thus, the inspection found that the actions of unidentified persons contained no signs of an administrative offense”.

On the other hand, if the offense has never happened, why search for the offenders, says the human rights activist. But the biggest shock for Pavel Levinau was another decision of Siarhei Viaraksa who said that Levinau faced administrative charges, which were eventually dropped after it was found out that there was no signs of an offense...

"I just wrote a statement to the police. Is anyone who writes to the police an offender? What kind of offense do they mean? Maybe it is because the decision is dated April 12, when all the people were celebrating Easter... In that police logic? It was me who asked to verify the facts that I believe are an offense, but I did not hand out those flags...”

The human rights defender will challenge the decision in court. After all, what is written in it is not just nonsense - it is not consistent with the law, says Pavel Levinau.