Journalists are explained their rights only two weeks after beginning of the trial

2015 2015-07-14T16:25:03+0300 2015-07-14T16:25:03+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Zmitser Lupach and Tatsiana Smotkina

Zmitser Lupach and Tatsiana Smotkina

July 10, Hlybokaje journalists Zmitser Lupach and Tatsiana Smotkina were summoned to the police to sign the paper that they had been explained their rights. “What is the sense of this paper, if the violation report was drawn up back on June 25, and nobody mentioned my rights then,” wonders Tatsiana.

June 25, freelance journalists Zmitser Lupach and Tatsiana Smotkina were questioned regarding some articles on the websites of “European Radio for Belarus” and Radio “Racyja”.

"I indicated in the minutes of the interrogation that my rights hadn't been explained to me. Several days later violation reports under Article 22.9, part 2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, “illegal manufacture and distribution of media products”, were drawn up on me and Zmitser.
Viachaslau Baryla, senior inspector of the division for law enforcement and prevention of Hlybokaje District Police Department, passed our cases to the court and even appointed the trials on July 9 and 10. However, the trials didn't take place, as the cases were returned to the police for revising,” says Tatsiana Smotkina.

Most probably, the “revision” was in drawing up a new document for the court case. After all, the violation reports lacked the signatures of Lupach and Smotkina that they had been explained their rights.

“In these reports, there are blank spaces where we were to have signed that we had been explained our rights. This is the main evidence that nobody explained us our rights. What sense does it make to add an extra report to our cases on July 10? Two weeks have passed since the instigation of the administrative proceedings, during which we weren't able to use our legal rights. By the way, we weren't explained our rights even this time – they just told us to sign a paper in which our rights were listed. I wrote that I found that I had some rights only from this report, but had no time to exercise them,” commented Tatsiana Smotkina.

"We are not lawyers and can not know the specifics of administrative proceedings. Therefore, the police were to have explained our rights: that we had the right for defense, the use of our native language and an interpreter, if necessary. We weren't told anything, which means that we were deprived of our rights. Most probably, the court noticed this absurdity. However, the situation cannot be corrected by backdating – we were proposed to signed for being explained our rights only on July 10,” adds Zmitser Lupach.

According to the journalists, senior inspector Viachaslau Baryla reproached them for reporting their colleagues about all his mistakes, so that the information was published on the Internet. He said that he passed the cases to the court, and it was up to the court to appoint the dates of the trials.

The administrative case against Tatsiana Smotkina concerns the article “Roads in Hlybokaje will become more positive”, published on the website of Radio “Racyja” (Poland) on June 9, and was brought by Hlybokake District Prosecutor's Office. The case of Zmitser Lupach concerns the article “Relatives of frontier guard who had died in Hlybojaje district September 17, 1939, have been found”, published at the website of “European Radio for Belarus” on June 9.