A Minsk court has started considering the case of Belsat TV cameraman Ales Barazenka accused of the illegal use of the Belsat trademark. 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.
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.
“It is absolutely unlawful! They see that the case is falling apart and that is why they are waiting for some order from above. The court did not even attach to the case file the testimony that there had never been any logo on the camera. The judges were not happy about their being participated because no one likes to make a fool of themselves. I know that some judges are refusing to try ‘political’ cases,” Barazenka told Belsat TV.
The trial carried on by judge Dzmitry Tsykal was held in Pershamayski district court in Minsk. The journalist did not plead guilty and pointed out that Belsat’s logos were placed on the camera after he had been confiscated. In his opinion, the way those stickers look is a proof of their being made in an improvised manner. The logo was printed on a usual paper.
“Any Belarusian journalist who has seen me working over the last 3 years, can testify that I have never had stickers on my equipment,” he said. His words were confirmed by kp.by journalist Iryna Kozlik, who appeared as a witness.
Another sitting will take place on August, 9. Two witnesses who allegedly saw the seizure of the camera on March, 25 are expected to be questioned.
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.