Charter’97 Coordinator Andrei Sannikau Appeals to Prosecutor’s Office Illegal Seizure of Currency
On 26 March 2006 on arrival to London the human rights activist Andrei Sannikau was detained by customs officers of Minsk-2 airport. They searched him and seized 1 040 US dollars and 260 Euro. They passed to Sannikau an act where the results of the search were registered. There it was stated that he didn’t import any prohibited things. At the same time, the customs officers stated that the money could be forged and therefore needed an expertise.
The seized means still hasn’t been returned to the owner. A.Sannikau applied to the customs office of the airport several times. At first they answered that the case was considered by the Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus and then – by KGB.
In June 2006 the coordinator of Charter’97 was summonsed to Minsk city tax inspection and told that a deputy minister of taxes A.Darashenka ordered the inspection to claim from him income and asset declaration for 2005. The human rights activist executed the inspection’s demand, but in December 2006 was summonsed to Minsk Pershamaiski borough tax inspection, which demanded from him explanations concerning his income and asset starting from 1991, including the origin of the seized currency.
‘So, they changed the reason for seizure of the money and now demand from me to specify its origin, though I stated from the beginning that it was my own means. I consider it as a politically motivated pressurization from the side of state organs,’ commented A.Sannikau.
Taking into consideration the fact that the money still hasn’t been returned, Mr. Sannikau asks Minsk Pershamaiski borough prosecutor’s office and the prosecutor’s office of Belarus to check the legality of the customs officers’ actions and appearance of new explanations for a long-term seizure of the financial means. The human rights activist also asks whether there are any legally defined terms for return of seized money.