Customs Officers Confiscate Video Cassettes from Ukrainian Journalists and Pass Them to KGB

2006 2006-02-01T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

According to Interfax

In the evening of 27 January the customs officers of Novaia Huta customs office stopped the car that was driven by a Ukrainian citizen. They searched the car and found three video cassettes with materials concerning the preparation to the presidential election in Belarus. Later the press-service of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus informed Interfax information agency that the cassettes were passed to KGB for expertise in accordance with Art 226 of the Customs Code. The KGB would check out whether the cassettes contain any “anti-state information”.

On 28 January the representative of the Belarusian Embassy in the Ukraine was called to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. There he was given a note with the request to discriminate into the situation and return the cassettes.

We should remind that in 2004 the customs officers also confiscated a video cassette from a journalist of the Swedish TV4 channel. The cassette contained the interview with the well-known Belarusian human rights activist Hary Pahaniaila, vice-chair of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. In this interview Mr. Pahaniaila expressed his suspicion concerning the involvement of the highest level officials (including Aliaksandr Lukashenka) into the kidnaps and possible murders of their political opponents. On the basis of this interview a criminal case upon part 2 of Art 367 of the Criminal Code (slander of the president of the Republic of Belarus accompanied with accusations of felony commitment) was brought against him in November 2004. However, in November 2005 the procurator’s office had to close the case because the absence of corpus delicti in Pahaniaila’s actions.