Minsk Maskouski Borough Procurators Office Refuses to Prosecute Policemen Who Used Force against Journalists
Maskouski Borough Prosecutors Office will not start a criminal case against the policemen who used force against journalists on 2 March 2006. The fact was explained by the idea that there was no corpus delicti in their actions, it was written in the letter sent to BAJ by the prosecutor V.Zhynhel. The letter is a reply to the appeal of BAJ sent to the Prosecutor General Piatro Miklashevich and the Minister of Internal Affairs Uladzimir Navumau on 7 March.
The investigators said they had interrogated Iulia Darashkevich, Dzmitry Brushko, Siarhei Pulsha and Aleh Ulevich, six Almaz members and 7 policemen. A criminal case connected with the fact that Aleh Ulevich had been slightly beaten was started. It was said that the other journalists could not prove the fact they had been beaten or did not come to give evidence of it.
BAJ representatives think that the Office of Public Prosecutor simply did not want to give all the necessary answers about the case. BAJ asked some questions about the case, stressed the BAJ deputy chairperson Andrei Bastunets. Several journalists got beaten during the detention of A.Kazulin.
Let us remind you that on March 2 journalists came to the Railway Workers' House of Culture together with the initiative group of A.Kazulin who was going to register for the All-Belarusian meeting. They got detained and beaten by the police. Dzmitry Madorski (Reuters) and a BelaPAN reporter Siarhei Pulsha were among the journalists. Three more journalists - Siarhei Hryts (Associated press), Vasil Fiadosenka (Reuters) and Iulia Darashkevich (Nasha Niva) - were detained by the police and released later. At about 12 o'clock Dzmitry Bushko (Belhazeta) and Aleh Ulevich (Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belorussii) got detained by the police. (A.Ulevich was beaten during the detention; the criminal case is being investigated now).
It has been admitted that the police had interfered in the work of the journalists. But the prosecutors think that the policemen had the right to do it according to the plan Shield ( art.16, part 19-1 of the law On the Police) in order to prevent disorder in the streets.
BAJ draws attention to article #39 of the Law on Mass Media according to which journalists are allowed to collect information. Policemen simply did not let the journalists do their job.
The BAJ Press Service