On August 30, Pavel Mrochko, an activist of the REP Trade Union from Brest, appealed to the cassation instance of the Minsk City Court against the judgement of the Moskovsky District Court of Minsk, which awarded him a huge (BYN 490) fine for participating in a solidarity action with the leaders of the REP Trade Union near the House of Justice in Minsk.
“Even if I took part in an unsanctioned action, by publicly demonstrating the white-red-white flag and chanting ‘Shame!’, the court was obliged to assess, but it failed to do, this fact, based firstly on the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution, namely, why the restriction of the constitutional right to freely adhere to and express one’s opinion, as well as the right to peaceful assembly, in this case was necessary in the interests of national security and public order, the protection of morals, public health, and the rights and freedoms of others persons,” the activist wrote in his complaint.
Pavel Mrochko has stated that Judge Victor Kazak, while considering his case under Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences (violation of the procedure for holding a mass event), refused to qualify his actions on the basis of constitutional norms of direct action and provisions of the international law, in particular, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, although his arguments were relevant and important.
Leonid Sudalenko, a rights defender and legal inspector of the REP Trade Union, finds the Mrochko’s case as perspective from the viewpoint of the consideration at the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), as the authorities are actually persecuting a person for expressing his opinion by using a peaceful assembly.
“Any restriction of the right must strictly meet the requirement of necessity and proportionality; it must not only be prescribed by the domestic law, but also be necessary to achieve specific goals, listed both in the Constitution and established by the international law. In Pavel’s case this requirement was not fulfilled,” said the lawyer.
Pavel Mrochko intends to use all the domestic remedies to bring this verdict to international experts in Geneva (the UN HRC).
Let us remind you that on August 24, after the sentencing of the leaders of the REP Trade Union, Gennady Fedynich and Igor Komlik, public activists held a picket in support of independent trade unions. They raised the white-red-white flag, the flag of the REP Trade Union and the flag of the civil campaign “European Belarus”.
In some 10 minutes, a red bus stuffed with OMON (riot police) fighters drove up to them; and most active picketers were detained. In total, 11 persons were detained and taken to the RUVD (District Interior Department) of the Moskovsky District of Minsk, from there – to the temporary detention facility (known as the IVS), where they spent their weekend pending trial.
The REP Trade Union has stated that it will help everyone, who was convicted for the solidarity action with trade union leaders.