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  • Belsat Cameraman Fined for «Cursing» at the Police

    For two days, the Pershamayski district court was hearing the case of Ales Liubianchuk, cameraman of Belsat who was detained at the office of Belsat on the day of searches. Judge Yury Harbatouski fined the reporter for 25 b.a. (575 BYN) allegedly for speaking obscene language at the police department.

    Ales Liu­bianchuk was charged with art. 17.1 (minor hooli­gan­ism). Two police offi­cers accused him of curs­ing at them at the police depart­ment. The reporter strong­ly dis­agrees with the charges and with the court deci­sion.

    On March 31, Ales Liu­bianchuk, an accred­it­ed cam­era­man of TVP (Poland), was detained at the office of Bel­sat when the police came to search the office of Bel­sat in Min­sk in rela­tion with the dis­pute over Bel­sat trade mark. The cam­era­man was involved as a wit­ness and was tak­en to the police depart­ment to give tes­ti­mo­ny. He spent almost all day long with the police offi­cers Padrez and Hryb.

    On the first day of the tri­al, only the jour­nal­ist gave tes­ti­mo­ny, as the police offi­cers did not appear in court. The reporter under­lined that he had request­ed for a lawyer sev­er­al times, which was denied to him at that moment. In the evening, the two police offi­cers charged him with minor hooli­gan­ism, art. 17.1. The reporter was sup­posed to spend that week­end at the deten­tion facil­i­ty, but was sud­den­ly released on the evening of March 31.

    The reporter said that he was accused “because offi­cer Padrez did not hear from me what he want­ed to hear in the case on Bel­sat trade mark. He insist­ed on me sign­ing the report of ques­tion­ing with which I dis­agreed.”


    Today, the police­men con­firmed their tes­ti­monies in court. They both said that Liu­bianchuk behaved uneasy and cursed at the police depart­ment. To many ques­tions, the police­men replied that they did not remem­ber the details of the day, because they dealt with such inci­dents reg­u­lar­ly.

    The charge of minor hooli­gan­ism is typ­i­cal for penal­iz­ing jour­nal­ists and pub­lic activists. In March, at least sev­en jour­nal­ists were charged with speak­ing foul lan­guage in pub­lic, which falls under minor hooli­gan­ism arti­cle 17.1. Among them Ali­ak­san­dr Barazen­ka who served a 15 days’ term alleged­ly for curs­ing; the audio of deten­tion showed quite the oppo­site – he did speak any­thing but that he was a jour­nal­ist. But even the audio did not help.

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