12 December 2018, Wednesday, 11:45
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'Robbed The People': Journalist Zmitser Lupach Turns Trial Into Protest Action

PHOTO: RADIO LIBERTY

The independent journalist came to the session of the regional court, wearing a T-shirt with poems printed on it.

Journalist from Hlybokayae Zmitser Lupach arrived to the session of the regional court, wearing a T-shirt, on which a poem reflecting brief contents of his cassational appeal printed on it, Radio Liberty reports.

''Earthly court is not like heaven,

They don't care, they put it straight:

Though Draneuski robs the people,

It's Lupach who ends up fined.''

Judge of the Vitsebsk regional court Sviatlana Ivanova upheld the resolution to fine the independent journalist, having claimed the fine was absolutely legal. She left the decision of the Braslau district court dated September 4, by which judge Aliaksandr Viazitski punished Zmitser Lupach with a fine for 36 base fees, which equals to BYN 882, in force without changes.

The journalist was punished under Article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (illegal production and dissemination of mass media content) for questioning the residents of Braslau, which was included in the news piece ''Teacher goes to jail for flowers, while Lukashenka's corruptionists remain at large'', shown by Belsat TV.

The news piece was related to the corruption case started against former Chairman of the Braslau district executive committee Uladzimir Draneuski and his wife. The official was arrested right at his workplace, and incriminated with having taken a EUR 28 K bribe.

In the questioning, the residents of Braslau criticize the former Chairman's methods of work.

''Even if they fine me a dozen times, this money won't be enough to cover the damage caused by Draneuski. That is why there's a picture of the Draneuski couple against the background of the packs of euros, and my own pic during collection of money to pay the fine, on my T-shirt,'' Zmitser Lupach says.

This is the eighth attempt to punish the journalist for the cooperation with the independent television channel Belsat this year. The total amount of his fines has reached BYN 4189,5.