Viciebsk resident Piatro Berlin lodged a complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee
Mr. Berlin was charged with participating in an unsanctioned picketing, whereas in fact he had just taken part in a photo session against the background of a graffiti with birds and cells. Moreover, he was the only one to be sentenced to arrest rather than a fine.
According to him, he was illegally and unjustly subjected to short-term imprisonment, and therefore filed an individual communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Trials over participants of the photo shoot took place in November and December last year. Piatro Berlin joined the photo session, which was held by Viciebsk journalists and social activists, by accident. However, he received the most severe punishment in comparison with other – three-day arrest, while the rest of the participants were given huge fines.
According to Mr. Berlin, the verdict was unfair, because such a penalty of confinement can not be considered proportional to the committed act. Mr. Berlin is confident that his behavior did not require his temporary detention, whereas he was kept in a temporary detention facility for three days before the trial, at which he was sentenced to the three days of arrest he had actually served. Mr. Berlinau also stresses that the trial wasn't objective: judge of the Čyhunačny District Court Alena Tsyhankova at once supported the accusation, stated in the violation report, drawn by an officer of the Čyhunačny District Police Department, Major Aliaksandr Rybakou, and found all the participants of the photoshoot guilty of the unauthorized action.
Mr. Berlin believes that to be a violation of his right to a fair trial and insists that the cassation and supervisory courts have not considered his arguments and exonerating circumstances. He therefore requires the Human Rights Committee to recognize his application admissible on its merits and asks the Committee to recognize a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by Belarus and recommend the authorities to eliminate the violations, to restore his civil rights, and recover his non-pecuniary damage in the form of monetary compensation, reports, Viciebsk Viasna.
Human rights activist Valery Misnikau, who monitored the trials of the journalists and Mr. Berlin, also regards the charges to the participants of the photoshoot as unfair. Therefore he addressed the city prosecutor's office with the appeal that the police major Aliaksandr Rybakou and Judges of the Čyhunačny District Court Alena Tsyhankova and Dzianis Hubanau violated the laws and the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus while judging the journalists. However, the prosecutor's office ignored the appeal. Afterwards, Mr. Misnikau appealed to the regional prosecutor's office to challenge the inaction of the city prosecutor, but the appeal was also ignored: the head of the division for supervision over the observance of civil rights and freedoms Maryna Papova informed him that he had no powers to represent the interests of the persons who had received administrative punishment, as he had no power of attorney from them.