Leader skeptical about ruling on \"Tell the Truth!\" movement\'s appeal against registration denial

 

Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, leader of the "Tell the Truth!" movement, said on Tuesday that he expected the Supreme Court to uphold the latest registration denial for the opposition organization.

Judge Valyantsina Kulik will announce her ruling on the movement's appeal against the registration denial on August 7.

Speaking at Tuesday's hearing, representatives of the justice ministry and the Minsk City Prosecutor's Office described the registration denial as well-justified and asked the court to turn down the appeal, Mr. Nyaklyayew told BelaPAN.

"The judge's decision is known in advance," the former presidential candidate said. "If the justice ministry and the prosecutor's office say that the 'Tell the Truth!' movement may not be registered, the court will say tomorrow that it may not be registered. I don't expect any other decisions to be announced tomorrow."

"We seek registration above all for the purpose of protecting 'Tell the Truth!' activists against Article 193 of the Criminal Code [penalizing acting on behalf of an unregistered organization]," said Mr. Nyaklyayew. "This is a very serious problem and the only possibility to protect our activists is to continue applying for registration… During the consideration of our applications our activists are formally protected under law."

Activist Syarhey Vaznyak said that the registration denial was not based on law.

Explaining its decision, the ministry said that although valid on the date of submission, a letter confirming that the movement had a legal address had expired before the application's consideration.

"The application was submitted on May 8 and the letter of guarantee was valid on the date. It expired on May 31. The justice ministry could either make a decision on our registration before that date or require us to provide a new letter of guarantee," Mr. Vaznyak said.

The other “flaw” noted by the ministry was that the movement had allegedly failed to specify the number of its board members.

"Neither the law governing NGOs nor our charter contains such a requirement. This is the justice ministry's invention," he said. "This is a stupid quibble which is even difficult to comment on."

The organization describes its mission as contributing to the creation of a democratic, law-based state, the development of civil society and the economy, and the strengthening of the Belarusian people’s patriotic traditions.

The “Tell the Truth!” movement was established on February 25, 2010, with the initial aim of raising the awareness of the public of social and economic problems in the country and pressing for the government to solve them. During the presidential race later that year, hundreds of activists of the movement across Belarus collected ballot-access signatures and electioneered for Mr. Nyaklyayew.

The movement’s previous two registration applications were also rejected for technical reasons.