Ales Barazenka has been found guilty of the illegal use of the Belsat trademark.
Judge Anastasiya Papko has imposed a fine of BYN920 ($460) on him; the expensive video equipment which was seized from the journalist and at Belsat Tv offices earlier will be confiscated as well.
Our journalists were barred from taking photos and filming in court.
“They realize that I will not give up, that their verdict will be appealed at higher and international court, and they want to save face,” Barazenka commented on the judge refusal to have fingerprints lifted in order to prove his innocence.
In July, Pershamayski district court in Minsk started considering the case of Ales Barazenka.
As reported earlier, Minsk department for combating economic crime drew up a report on Barazenka “for violation of copyright, related rights and patent” (Article 9.21). The cameraman believes that the case was launched to confiscate the equipment he is using.
The main evidence is mysterious logo stickers on the equipment, which, according to the reporter, appeared on his camera after it had been seized by the police.
Barazenka did not admit his guilt.
“I am a journalist. As for the charge, I can say that I did not commit the offense which I am accused of, as I had never leased or sold my equipment. I used it as a working tool,” he said.
In August, judge Dzmitry Tsykal sent the case of the Belsat TV cameraman back to the police. According to him, there were some mistakes in the protocol.
Our colleague was arrested during the live broadcast from the non-parasite march and Freedom Day celebration in Minsk, accused of ‘disorderly conduct’ and sentenced to 15 days in jail. According to riot policemen who were witnessing in court Ales was shouting, waving his hands, using bad language. The video above features Barazenka saying ‘I am a journalist! I am a journalist!’ when the police were arresting him. No strong language was used. After being detained, Ales Barazenka went on hunger-strike in protest.
The case about the Belsat trademark has lasted for almost five years. According to the BELSATplus company owner, our channel has violated the interests of his business. The businessman appealed to the Supreme Court of Belarus, but it did not satisfy his demands.
Then BELSATplus company owner tried to ban our channel from using the Belsat TV trademark. But the Supreme Court dismissed the claims.
Re-examination of the case was initiated by the Presidium of the Supreme Court, and the case was heard by another panel of judges. On September 4, 2014,the court granted the appeal of Andrey Belyakou and banned our channel from using the “Belsat TV” trademark for broadcasts on the territory of Belarus and on the web page.
A similar story took place in March 2017, when the police detained another cameraman, Aliaksandr Liubianchuk during the search in Minsk offices of Belsat TV. Aliaksandr has a Belarusian MFA accreditation. They took away all his personal equipment, and took all the computers out of the ‘Belsat’ office. Along with 9 Belsat TV computers, the police seized a GoPro camera, a video camera, a picture camera, microphone which belong to the cameraman. “They put stickers ‘Belsat’ on my equipment and seized it,” the journalist stated.