Activist in Viciebsk wins compensation over years of persecution
The Court of Viciebsk’s Kastryčnicki district has ruled to partially grant a claim by local opposition activist Piotr Ivanou. As a result, the government is expected to pay 25 million rubles in moral damages. The initial amount that the activist mentioned in his lawsuit was over 7.5 billion rubles.
The court ruling is an exception for the Belarusian judiciary, as the courts seldom grant claims dealing with moral damages.
The activist argued that he had experienced years of persecution from local authorities and law enforcement agencies, including administrative charges for an election picket in 2010, detention for distributing leaflets and subsequent false accusations of swearing. He was also fined for allegedly reporting inaccurate information in his complaint against the city’s traffic police and resisting arrest. As a result of the incident, Piotr Ivanou faced criminal charges for allegedly insulting police officers. The activists also received threats of deportation. In 2013, he wrote to Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.