18 January 2018, Thursday, 22:52

Court ignoring claims of travel banned Stefanovich for 3 months


The Minsk City Court refused to bring judge Syamak to responsibility.

Deputy head of Viasna human rights centre Valyantin Stefanovich went to court after he had found his name on the list of persons banned from leaving Belaus, but has not received a reply for three months, Viasna human rights centre reports.

Court chairman Uladzimir Putila told Valyantin Stefanovich the reason was the “workload of the judge”, so “the grounds to bring judge of the Tsentralny district court of Minsk Syamak over the arguments presented in the claim have not been found”.

On May 4, Valyantin Stefanovich filed a complaint to the Minsk City Court chair against judge Alena Syamak, who delays hearing of the claim by the travel banned human rights activist. Valyantin Stefanovich lodged a complaint against the actions by the Ministry of Defence of Belarus on March 21. The court received the complaint on March 26, but judge Alena Syamak has not appoint a hearing yet.

Judges are obliged to deliver a judgement over such complaints within a month. A judge can refuse to open a case (if there are legal grounds), send the complaint back to fix errors or open a case. But many political and public figures, who were barred from leaving the country, met with the situation, when judges prefer to keep silence after receiving complaints.

Under law, judge Alena Syamak should have considered Valyantin Stefanovich's complaint  by April 26. The human rights activist thinks the actions by the judge violate the legislation. In this regard, he asked to initiate disciplinary proceedings and bring judge Alena Syamak to disciplinary responsibility over articles 111, 114, 115 and 119 of the Code of Judicial Administration and Status of Judges of the Republic of Belarus.

Valyantin Stefanovich also filed a complaint to the Investigation Committee. The human rights activist demanded to open a criminal case on suspicion of deliberate criminal actions aimed at restricting his constitutional rights and a possible forgery by an official expressed in putting his name in the data bank of Belarusian citizens banned from leaving the country.  Stefanovich informed the Investigation Committee the reasons for the travel ban (draft evasion) were absurd and ridiculous. Firstly, he is 12 years over the maximum draft age, secondly, he served in the army in 1990-1992. He drew attention of the committee that a number of independent journalists and members of political parties and NGOs were restricted to travel abroad on similar grounds. The human rights activist thinks it is not an error, but an illegal politically motivated operation of the Belarusian security services.

Mikalai Danilyuk, an officer of the Investigation Committee, answered the case was beyond the jurisdiction of the Committee.

We remind Valyantin Stefanovich was not allowed to leave Belarus on March 11. He was told on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border his name was on the blacklist. The migration and citizenship office told Stefanovich was banned from leaving Belarus for “draft evasion”, but the military enlistment office denies this information.

Valyantin Stefanovich sent a request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs asking to remove his name from the data bank of Belarusian citizens subject to travel ban. The human rights activist says he will appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee after going through all judicial instances in Belarus.