On December 17, the Chyhunachny district court in Vitebsk heard the case of Pavel Levinau, the last person brought to account for the photo near the famous city graffiti.
Pavel Levinau motioned to adjourn the hearing because of his illness; also, he had concluded a contract with a lawyer, but the latter did not manage to come in time. Judge Alena Tsyhankova dismissed all the motions filed by Levinau. She made two reprimands that the defendant attempted to take the time with his motions; the reprimands were registered in court records. She allowed video recording, but only if Levinau did it by himself.
So he did.
The judge dismissed the motion to consider photos and online materials confirming that police in Vitebsk had a special interest to the photo session of the journalists and activists.
“I offered a number of photos to be included into the case materials, including a photo of the real picket which I held in November 2013. Nobody held me liable for that. So, I asked Major Aliaksandr Rybakou, who had made the administrative reports, what caused the extreme interest in our photo session? I heard no clear answer. The Major repeated the same things as in all the previous trials: that we were expressing our civil and political interests in the photos.”
Pavel Levinau, like all the others, was found guilty of holding an unsanctioned picket and fined 25 basic amounts.
We remind that before November 5, the day of the international campaign Stand Up For Journalism, a team of BAJ members from Vitebsk took a photo at the background of a famous graffiti in Vitebsk – the image of paper-cut birds flying out of cage. This was a symbolic action to join the international campaign of the EFJ and the campaign of BAJ in support of journalists prosecuted for their professional activities.
Six people, including Levinau, were fined and one person was arrested for three days for violating article 23.34 of the Administrative Code.