TSIMAFEI DRANCHUK SEIZED BY LUKASHENKA’S SECURITY SERVICE GUARDS

2002 2002-09-05T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Yesterday at around 5p.m. one of the ZUBR activists Tsimafei Dranchuk was captured by president Lukashenka’ security service men. Tsimafei talked about that at the press-conference 90 minutes after his release:

- On September 3 morning upon the request of the “Narodnaya Volya” I was taking photos of a well-known cottage in the Masherova street, where Alexander Lukashenka’s mother is said to live. In reality, the place belongs to his son Viktor. When I took a few pictures, out of the gates there came an S-class Mercedes, which I also photographed. The vehicle immediately pulled over, the door opened and Viktar Lukashenka got out of the car. He rushed to me and snatched away my photo camera. I told him that I had been entitled to do the photographing by the “Narodnaya Volya”. In response, Viktar Lukashenka said that they would return the camera in a few hours to the “NV” office. I didn’t care about it -- I had already taken out the cartridge from the camera.

Half an hour after the incident somebody called my parents’ house and inquired about my present place of living. In a few hours I got a phone call from the “NV” editor Iosif Seredzich, who told me that some strangers brought my camera to their office. I couldn’t copy the photos without the camera and immediately left for the newspaper’s office together with a friend of mine. After that I proceeded to the Victory square, where I had an appointment.

When I was at the square, three muscular guys in civilian came up to me, flashed their documents in my face and with the words “Criminal police” twisted my arms behind my back and put me into their white Volvo with plates 54-21KA. They drove me to some remote part of the city, which I didn’t know. On the way there they threatened me with physical annihilation and exerted psychological pressure on me.

These people told me that they are agents of the president’s security service and our conversation was caused by the morning incident with Viktar Lukashenka. They searched my bag and found there their own bullet (which is a normal practice here) They told me that I may get up to seven years of jail for storing ammunition. I had to give them my photo cartridge. One of these people left to check whether I gave him the right one. The road took him 1,5 hours, during which we talked about politics. I was told that if I tell anyone about the incident I would run into serious problems. Then their chief guy said that we must meet more often and exchange information. He left his phone number: 0296 31 31 61 and name Andrei.

After there came a phone call from their friend, who checked the cartridge, I was set free. In no time after that we decided to convene a press-conference in order to make this fact public.

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