Shklou District: Police Detain Journalist of Salidarnasts Alena Yakzhyk

2007 2007-06-12T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

According to the BAJ press-service

On 12 June in Sklou district the police detained the journalist of the non-state newspaper Salidarnasts Alena Yakzhyk for making photos of the house where Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s wife lives. An unknown person in mufti also made the journalist delete the made photos.

Alena Yakzhyk came to the place to make a report about the construction of the first Belarusian factory of newsprint. The factory is being built in Maladziozhny settlement several kilometers away from Shklou. In the morning at a bus stop the local citizens said to her that the route taxi to the settlement broke down and a bus would arrive much later. Not to lose time, the journalist decided to go on foot.

‘On my way I made photos. The district prepares to the Day of Writing. The fences and roofs are painted. I decided that it could be useful for my work and made some photos. When we were passing the village of Ryzhkavichy, my fellow traveler pointed at the house where the president’s wife lives. I made several photos and went ahead.’

However, in 3 minutes the journalist was overtaken by a man. He stated that the house was a special object and she could not make photos of it. On the journalist’s demand he showed certificate of a worker of a platoon for guarding of special object, police ensign Mikhail Parfionau. Then he proposed the journalist to come to the police station, where another policeman was waiting.

‘I explained to the policeman that this house was not the aim of my travel and I made photos just because of personal interest, as it was not written anywhere on the house or on the fence that it is prohibited to photograph. They put down my passport data and phoned to KGB,’ said Alena Yakzhyk.

A man in mufti arrived. He asked the journalist why she photographed the house. He refused to introduce himself and show his documents. The journalist repeated what she had already said to the policeman. The man listened to the journalist, ordered the policemen to take written explanations from her and went outdoors to call to somebody.

‘I signed the explanations which they wrote from my own words and went out. The man in mufti ordered me to erase the photos from my camera and warned not to make any more photos of the house, or ask permission at the ideological department of Shklou district executive committee, which can even organize an excursion for me,’ Alena said. In 45 minutes the journalist was let go.

However, not far from Maladziozhny he was again overtaken by the man in mufti, who was driving a car. He stated that the journalist could not make any reports as the activity of her newspaper was suspended till 1 July and also stated that it was necessary to get permission from the ideological department of Shklou district executive committee. When she again asked what he was, he answered: ‘You can consider me a worker of the general department of Shklou town executive committee’.

‘I answered that I am a member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists and could work as an independent journalist. I refused to implement his demand, referring to the Belarusian legislation. Then I went away to continue my work,’ pointed the journalist.

By about 2 p.m. she had taken the necessary interviews and was heading for a bus station. On the way she was approached by the local police inspector, who said that he had been informed that she had violated the law by photographing a special object. Having checked the photos he also asked when she was departing from Shklou.