Belarus Court sets new date for trial of human rights defender

Tatsiana Reviaka, President of the Belarusian Human Rights House, was arrested on 26 March 2017 while she monitored peaceful protests, and detained for three hours. She later received a summons to the administrative court on charges of disobeying the police and petty hooliganism.

After she was released from detention, she gave her account of the repression of peaceful protestors in Belarus. 

“Tatsiana Reviaka stands to be charged for carrying out her legitimate human rights work monitoring protests and documenting violations against peaceful protestors, who themselves face charges for exercising their right to assemble,” said Maria Dahle, Executive Director of HRHF. 

“We call on the Belarusian authorities to drop the charges against Tatsiana Reviaka and all civil society actors, journalists, and human rights defenders prosecuted for their work, as well as the charges against peaceful protestors,” she added. 

Her court hearing, scheduled for 10 April, has been postponed until 18 April, after her lawyer explained that she was unable to attend the hearing due to being out of the country. (Update 18 April: Tatsiana Reviaka’s court hearing has been postponed until 28 April).

The hearing was observed by Natallia Satsunkevich, a participant of the HRHF and Belarusian Human Rights House “Bring International Standards Home” programme, which educates lawyers and human rights defenders in international human rights standards to strengthen their implementation in Belarus.

Tatsiana Reviaka’s lawyer explained that she has a desire to participate personally in the court session and drew attention to documents sent by her to the court in this regard. He put forward a motion to postpone the hearing until after April 14, when she returns to Belarus. He also explained that Tatsiana Reviaka sent an appeal to the court against the actions of the person who is leading the administrative process against her. 

Judge Victoria Shabunya looked interested and tried to find out all the circumstances: where Tatsiana Reviaka is at the moment and when she will cross the state border of Belarus, and asked for copies of her tickets. Satisfying the motion, she postponed the hearing until 9:30 on 18 April 2017.

At the end of the hearing, the judge invited witnesses (policemen) to the courtroom and explained to them about the postponement of the court hearing and the necessity to attend it.

The court session lasted less than 10 minutes. It was attended by representatives of the civil society of Belarus and Russia, but no media were present.

Tatsiana Reviaka was not able to attend the hearing as she pursues human rights work in Vilnius, ahead of travelling to Brussels to raise awareness of recent human rights violations in Belarus.




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