Savetski district court of Minsk started a preliminary hearings on the suit filed by businessman Arkadz Izrailevich against the Novy Chas newspaper. Arkadz Izrailevich did not show up in the courtroom. He is represented by barrister Alena Kalazayeva . The case is heard by Judge Veranika Abramovich.
Novy Chas is represented by its chief editor Aksana Kolb and the author of the investigation Dzianis Ivashyn. Ivashyn is also represented by Aleh Aheyeu, lawyer of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. The main court hearing was scheduled for September 10. The court also obliged Arkadz Izrailevich, the applicant, to appear in the courtroom for the hearing.
Izrailevich claims, Novy Chas published a series of articles that compromise his honor, dignity and business reputation.
The lawsuit against the newspaper and journalist Ivashyn is based on the fact that the content of the articles clearly suggests that he and his IB company are the ultimate beneficiaries of buikding a restaurant in Kurapaty . Izrailevich points out, the construction of the restaurant, "Let's Go and Eat" receives "colliding" responses from the public. Having read the articles, some people developed a negative attitude towards me as a business leader who can orgaize construction at the memorial for profit," — Izrailevich complains.
The claim amounts to 40,000 BYN (about $20,000). If satisfied, the suit might let the newspaper go bankrupt.
Izrailevich also wants 1,000 BYN from author Dzianis Ivashyn.
BAJ lawyer Aleh Aheyeu says, Arkadz Izrailevich has expressed hs opinion on the construction many times on different websites and media. In fact, his own statements drew negative feedback from the audience, and not the articles.
Aksana Kolb, chief editor, says: "We will continue to prove the frivolousness of the claim. We hope that the court rules in favor of the freedom of speech and rejects the claim completely. . . .
In December 2007 Pershamaiski court of Minsk ruled to exact 50 million BYR from Novy Chas to Mikalai Charhinets, member of the Council of the Republic, for insulting his honor and dignity. At that time, that equaled $23,000.
Novy Chas is a weekly covering political and social issues published since 2002. This is one of the very few newspapers that use only Belarusian language.