The UN Human Rights Committee called Valer Rybchanka’s 15-day arrest arbitrary.
On December 5, the UN Committee on Human Rights made a decision in the case (#2266/2013, Valer Rybchanka against Belarus), in which it acknowledged the violation of the author’s rights to liberty and personal integrity, fair trial, free expression of opinion and peaceful assembly, Homel Viasna writes.
The decision was commented by Leanid Sudalenka, the head of the HCSL (Gomel Center for Strategic Litigation), who provides assistance to the activist at the international level.
He recalled that during the official holiday of the Independence Day on July 3, 2011, a HCSL volunteer in Zhlobin Valer Rybchanka distributed leaflets among those present at the festival, inviting people to take part in silent protest actions all over the country then. Police officers detained him, charged with violating the procedure for holding a mass event, and the Zhlobin district court arrested him for 15 days.
“Having exhausted all domestic remedies, we put a number of questions before the UN Committee. Firstly, they stated that there was no reason for detention and arrest, as the meeting was peaceful. Secondly, they raised the issue of violation of the right to a fair court, as during the administrative proceedings the district judge did not satisfy Valer’s request to involve a representative freely chosen by him. We argued that, by arbitrarily detaining and sentencing to 15 days of arrest for distribution of leaflets during the peaceful rally, the state disproportionately interfered with the citizen’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” the human rights activist said.
Leanid Sudalenka added that the decision of the Human Rights Committee has already been published. In Geneva, they supported all their arguments, finding that the facts presented reveal a violation of the rights under articles 9 (1), 14 (3) (b) and (d), 19 and 21 of the Covenant. The Committee also confirmed that the Belarusian government once again violated its obligations under Article 1 of the Optional Protocol.