Homel Police Detains Participants of Conference in Chernihiv, Ukraine
In the evening of December 17 head of Homel regional branch of the Belarusian Social Democratic party (Hramada) Siarhei Starychenka and his colleague from Rechytsa Aleh Shabetnik were detained at Belarusian-Ukrainian border for 2 hours. Homel customs officers detained them in a train to Homel at Tserukha station in Belarus. The Social Democrats were on their way to Homel from a founding conference of the Union of the Left-Wing Parties of Belarus. The customs officers explained the detention by the fact that the party activists were allegedly transporting illegal printed materials.
Siarhei Starychenka told BelaPAN, the customs officers seized the conference materials of the Union of the Left-Wing Parties.
Inspectors Lashkevich and Herasimau purportedly found 5 copies of a brochure about Lukashenka`s cult of personality among the belongings of Aleh Shabetnik. The brochures were seized as well. The officers explained that an expert examination of the political contents of the brochure would be carried out. Shabetnik claims he did not have the brochures.
Other participants of the conference told RFE/RL that an unknown individual in the uniform of a border guard was filming the passengers of the train at Tserukha station. He explained to surprised passengers that the video filming was done in order to study passengers` flows.