Minsk: Chief Editor of Narodnaia Volia Iosif Siaredzich Holds Press-conference Due to Detention on 250 000 Print-run
On 6 March nobody in the Central Election Commission knew that the whole print-run of Narodnaia Volia was detained on the Russian-Belarusian border on Friday evening. The edition's editor-in-chief Iosif Siaredzich talked to the CEC deputy head Mikhalai Lazavik about it. 250 000 issues of the newspaper detained at the Russian-Belarusian border have not been returned yet. The police explained that they suspected the newspaper of violation of several articles of the Election Code.
I.Siaredzich said that at about 10 p.m. on 3 March Belarusian customs officers stopped 2 trucks carrying the whole print-run (#39) of "Narodnaja Vola" - 250 thousand issues. ‘We deliberately increased the number of issues because we expected our newspaper to be in keen demand’, - claimed I.Siaredzich. The issue was dedicated to the events that took place in Minsk on March 2 - the beating of a presidential contender A.Kazulin and surrounding circumstances, and to the meeting with electors organized by A.Milinkevich.
The issue's banner headline was ‘March 2. Minsk. All-Belarusian seizure’. A special article ‘Black Thursday’ was dedicated to the events that happened on 2 March, there were interviews with the participants (A.Kazulin and V.Fralou), photos etc. The police suspects Narodnaia Volia of violation of articles 45 and 48 of the Election Code (equal opportunities for all candidates).
‘If we consider equal opportunities the candidature of A.Lukashenka should be withdrawn according to those articles’, - claimed I.Siaredzich at the press conference. ‘I could not find a regulation that would prohibit agitation during the election campaign’, - said the editor-in-chief. He recalled that last week's print-run was only 140 thousand issues and it was delivered to Belarus and distributed without any problems.
‘We think that our rights have been violated and we are going to turn to the Attorney General, to the Minister of Internal affaires and to the head of Vitsebsk Region Department of the Interior on Saturday. We also sent appeals to observers from the OSCE and CIS’, - informed I.Siaredzich. ‘We will protect our rights... But we would like to return the print-run now, not in a month’.