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2003 2003-05-20T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 12 May Belarusian Popular Front vice-chairperson Yury Khadyka was tried in his absence for participation in the People’s March “For the Better Life!”. He was charged under Art 167.1 par 2 of the Code of Administrative Offences. Judge Ruslan Kazadayew ruled to punish Khadyka with 15 days of jail.

Yury Khadyka was absent during the trial. The court ruling says: “Khadyka was summoned to court on 15 April 2003, 24 April 2003, 30 April 2003, and 8 May 2003 but did not appear in court. Savetski borough police did not execute the court ruling about forcible bringing Khadyka to court on 30 April 2003, 8 May 2003, and 12 May 2003”. This was the ground for trying Khadyka in his absence, because this was the last day for arraignment on administrative charges (the action took place on 12 March, and the term for arraignment is 2 months).
The decision of the Judge contradicts the Ruling of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of 25 March 1999 #1, which says the following: “The judges must bear in mind, that consideration of administrative cases in presence of the defendant, creates additional guarantees for correct and unbiased decision… Trials on charges, mentioned in Art 247 part 2 (Khadyka’s case including – “Viasna”), must be held only in the presence of the defendant. In case this requirement is not met, the court ruling is to be cancelled”. The Code of Administrative Offences does not provide for any options (for example, the police was not able to forcibly bring the offender to court), which make it possible to hear the case in absence of the offender.
Moreover, in this case the judge deprived the defendant of the right to defense – Khadyka could not defend himself, as well as use help of a representative or a lawyer. Thus, the judge ignored Art 62 of the Constitution, which guarantees every citizen the right to defense. Obviously, Yury Khadyka is going to appeal against the decision of judge Kazadayew to Minsk city court.
Now the police is to find Yury Khadyka and take him to Akrestsina jail to serve his sentence.

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