ASSEMBLY MAGAZINE DETAINED IN POST OFFICE
On January 21 it became known, that the magazine “Assembly” disappeared from Miensk post office. Usually the edition is sent to public associations in sealed envelopes on behalf of publishers – natural persons. Practically, tt was a violation of the secrecy of private correspondence and evident politically-motivated censorship.
NGO Magazine “Assembly” has been published since 1997. It is dedicated to the activities of NGOs in Belarus and it is the only national edition of this kind.
On January 10, 2004 the publishers prepared the next issue of the magazine, dedicated to the topic “NGOs and elections”, for distribution. The readers were offered analytical materials about possible participation of NGOs in the upcoming parliamentary election campaign. The highlight of the issue was the so-called Grey list – names of state officials, personally responsible for political repression against non-governmental organizations.
Earlier, for many times the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Justice expressed their angriness with the acute materials of the magazine, hence quite logically the publishers link the magazine detention with its contents.
Lawyer Yury Chavusaw, who defends non-governmental organizations, comments the situation: “I think that in this case we deal with a classical violation of the secrecy of private correspondence. The post office employees detained and possibly looked through the mail of private persons, which was directed to hundreds of non-governmental organizations all over the country. Now the post office staff refuse to comment on the situation and propose to appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office”.
It is probably the first case of mass detention of private correspondence based on political motives in the modern history of Belarus: several hundreds letters with “prohibited” information did not reach the addressees.