2003 2003-09-29T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

based on RFE/RL information

On 28 September Vitsebsk activists held a picket against possible limitation of the right to be represented by a public defender in trials.
The Council of Ministers is drafting the proper article of the Code of Civic Procedures. According to the new amendment, only state advocates will be able to represent citizens in courts. Vitsebsk action was directed against these amendments.
The action on Lenin Square was prepared and organized by Vitsebsk resident Dzmitry Sialuk. He is quite known in Vitsebsk. Some time ago he was the local Comsomol (Communist Youth) leader, but principally refused to join pro-Lukashenka Belarusian National Youth Union. He had a couple of serious troubles at his job because of his pro-opposition opinions. Finally, he got fired from the post of campus superintendent of Vitsebsk state university. Sialuk believed his discharge was unfair and illegal and filed a suit to court.
Dzmitry Sialuk does not trust state lawyers. He does not believe they are going to defend his interests and not the interests of the state officials.
He went out on Vitsebsk central square with a poster: “I am in danger!” and collected signatures against changes to the Code of Civic Procedures. In 20 minutes the police detained Sialuk. He had to spend about 90 minutes in a police station. The police accused him of unauthorized picketing. Now Sialuk is waiting for another trial. He plans to be his own defender in court.