Viciebsk Regional Court postpones trial of journalist Dzmitry Lupach

2015 2015-08-12T16:33:48+0300 2015-08-12T16:33:48+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Hlybokaje journalist Dzmitry Lupach

Hlybokaje journalist Dzmitry Lupach

Hlybokaje journalist Dzmitry Lupach wanted to challenge the decision of Hlybokaje District Court, by which he had been fined 4.5 mln rubles for alleged collaboration with foreign media without accreditation.

However, the court postponed the hearing, which was initially appointed on August 12, without warning him. Therefore, the journalist will incur additional loss due to the unnecessary visit of his lawyer to the court.

The date of the hearing was appointed back a week ago. "I received a writ for 11 a.m. on August 12 last week. I traveled 220 kilometers to get to the trial, though I know that my presence is not necessary, because I wanted to state to the court that I consider myself innocent. My lawyer drafted a complaint and went from Minsk to Viciebsk, having postponed other affairs.

Now it appears that we've lost our time in wain, and the finances for her transport expenditures and participation in the trial have been waisted. Shall I ask her to come in a week and be ready for new expneditures, in addition the imposed fine?” asks the journalist.

Let us remind that Mr. Lupach was fined on July 23, 2015 on charges of violating the law on the media - Part 2 of Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code (illegal production and distribution of media products). The reason for the litigation was his article “The relatives of the border guard, who had perished in Hlybokaje district on September 17, 1939, have been found”, published on June 9 at the website of the European Radio for Belarus. The case was considered by Judge Iryna Kazak.

Mr. Lupach is convinced that he was fined without any reasons and that Hlybokaje District Court ignored the evident violations in his case. In particular, he was deprived of the right to defense, since the charges were presented to him back on June 25, whereas his rights were explained to him only on July 10.

The trial at Hlybokaje District Court took place at the second attempt: the charges against Mr. Lupach had been sent to the police for revising after the appointment of the initial date of the trial. However, this didn't change anything – Dzmitry Lupach was still tried under the violation report of June 25, in which his signature about having been explained his rights was absent.

Journalist Tatsiana Smotkina got in a similar situation. She was tried at the second attempt on July 28 and was found guilty under Art. 22.9, part 2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, “collaboration with foreign media without state accreditation”. As a result, she was fined 4.5 mln rubles too.