News / 29.12.17

One poster = fine of 23 US dollars: court has ruled on picket case

Bobruisk activists of the REP Trade Union Galina Lazareva and Alexei Trofimov have been fined by two basic units each.

On December 6, 2017, the Court of the Bobruisk District and the city of Bobruisk fined Galina Lazareva and Alexei Trofimov by two basic units each (by 46 roubles) for having unfolded, two months earlier, in Victory Square, two posters reading: "First – salary, then – housing bills!" and "Bobruisk – for decent work!"

The case on an administrative offense under Article 23.34 (a mass event held without a permit) was run personally by Lieutenant Colonel Sergey Rudsko. Within these two months, he questioned the activists many times, including late at night in a children's hospital; also the policeman, in violation of the presumption of innocence, confiscated Alexei Trofimov's mobile phone (just took it away during a search, when Alexei Trofimov came for interrogation to the militia), saying that the cost of the phone would be included in the future fine – it was done before the court's judgement. The activists wrote a large number of complaints against the actions of the high-ranking militiaman.

Galina Smirnova, the leader of the REP Trade Union unit in Bobruisk, told the praca-by.infothat the public resonance played the decisive role in the fact that the fine was rather small: "In any case, the punishment is unfair, even if they had just passed a warning. Everyone has the right to express his/her viewpoint. And the fact that the fine is relatively small, I believe, is because of the public resonance: confrontation behind this administrative case was serious. A big role was played by the media and comments posted in social networks. I believe that militiamen also trace and read all this. That's why we should not keep silent about any protest action! Any discontent expressed by people should not remain within their narrow circle."


Galina Smirnova

Andrei Strizhak, Deputy Chairman of the Gomel Regional REP Trade Union Committee, believes that several factors had affected the court's judgement: "Firstly, the serious resonance, including the international one. Secondly, I believe that even the judge was outraged at the lawlessness of militiaman Rudsko even, especially the night interrogation at the children's hospital. And thirdly, an important role belongs to the fact that both activists have minor children: Galina Lazareva, for example, has four minors."

The trade union activist also thanked colleagues from other countries, who held an action in support of Galina Lazareva at an international conference.

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