Svislač court fines human rights defender over memorial protest
The Svislač District Court has fined human rights activist Uladzimir Khilmanovich 7.2 million rubles on charges of participating in unauthorized assembly held on October 31.
At the very beginning of the trial, Mr. Khilmanovich stressed the fact that several other people had already been convicted of being involved in the same memorial event, while the very fact of holding the protest had not been legally proved by the court.
During the hearing, none of the police officers who testified in the case was able to explain what legal acts made them believe that displaying a white-red-white flag is a violation of law.
Uladzimir Khilmanovich said that the witnesses’ words were actually in his favor and confirmed the fact that he had not violated the law. This is also confirmed by the fact that the police officers did not warn the protesters during the entire meeting.
The human rights defender referred to specific articles of the national legislation: the Constitution, the Mass Events Law, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He also argued that the penalty for a similar violation that was imposed last year was under consideration at the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Despite all the arguments, it took Judge Zhanna Salahubik less than a minute to announce her ruling: a fine of 7.2 million rubles.