Journalist in Mahilioŭ complains to UN Human Rights Committee
“On June 28, I sent my complaint together with appendices – more than 30 pages in total. Human rights defenders Barys Bukhel and Leanid Sudalenka helped me prepare it, I am very grateful for that,” says Ales Burakou, a freelance journalist in Mahilioŭ.
In his complaint, the journalist asks the Committee to find a violation of his rights guaranteed by Article 19 and para. 2 and 3 of Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Burakou also asks the UN HRC to recommend that the Government of the Republic of Belarus brought the rules of the national law on mass media and its implementation in accordance with international obligations, namely Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“We attached answers from Belarusian courts. We tried to appeal the decision of the court of Lieninski district to the Regional Court, including its Chairman. Then there was a complaint to the Supreme Court, but it was rejected. I hope that the United Nations Human Rights Committee will consider my complaint and find that I was right. To me it is important that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, I did everything within the law. Another thing is that we have these laws, which, for some reason, do not work,” the journalist said. “It is important to appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee, as it seems that both the police and the judges view me as a perpetrator. But when experts from different countries of the UN are on my side, it would indicate that there is something wrong with these police officers and judges.”
On 8 October 2014, the court of Mahilioŭ’s Lieninski district found Ales Burakou guilty of illegal production of media products, namely a publication entitled “The Smuggler’s Trail: Do Russian Sanctions Work Near the Border?”, which was published on the website of the German radio Deutsche Welle. For this, he was fined 6 mln rubles.
On November 20, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court ruled to leave the decision in place.
In mid-March, Ales Burakou received a letter from the chairman of the Mahilioŭ Regional Court Ihar Proshka, which reported that his supervisory appeal was dismissed, as his “guilt in the illicit manufacture of media products was established by the judge and confirmed by the totality of the investigated circumstances, which received proper evaluation.”
On May 18, the journalist received an answer from the Supreme Court. Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court Aniskevich told the journalist that his arguments were inconclusive.
As a result, Ales Burakou was forced to appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Committee after his attempts to challenge the unfair punishment were not successful.