Journalists Seized for Interview with Oppositional Politician

2008 2008-01-14T20:46:09+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

After an interview with the member of the United Civil Party, an economist Pavel Daneika, the police seize the journalists Uladzimir and Halina Samoilaus and a cameraman Valery Buldyk. After the arrest and search policemen confiscated their equipment.

A group of journalists was recording an interview with Pavel Daneika on 12 January. The meeting was held in Minsk in his apartment. The text variant of the conversation was to be published in a weekly. A video reel was to be offered to one of TV companies, Camarade online reports.

The topic of the interview is of current concern. The unsanctioned meeting held by more than 3,000 entrepreneurs on Kastrychnitskaya Square on 10 January showed that market reforms in the country were going on with difficulty. Pavel Daneika is one of the best experts in the problem of transforming planned economy into market economy.

After leaving the house after the interview, journalists didn’t manage to call a taxi as almost immediately two persons in mufti accompanied a police captain approached them.

- Your passport?

- Here, please. What’s the matter?

- We have received information that a theft has taken place in this house. Whose equipment is this?

- It’s mine, I’m a professional cameraman and make items for different TV companies, - Halina Samoilava said.

- Do you have documents that you own it?

- Certainly, but I do not take them with me. There’s no use. Besides, Pavel Daneika can prove who we are and that we visited him. We entered the door and left through the door!

Pavel Daneika was invited over the mobile phone. He confirmed that a theft is out of question. It was an arranged meeting, and he knows journalists well. However law-enforcers haven’t been impressed by that at all. The journalists were taken to a police department of Tsentralny district. Their personal things were searched there.

Interrogation lasted for about 3 hours. As a result, all equipment, video cassettes, a photo camera were seized. Being asked whether they will be returned, the police gave an elusive answer: ‘It will be returned in case you prove it belongs to you, and you carried out recording legally’.

By the way, people in mufti were most interested by the question whether people were shooting an item for the independent Belarusian TV company Belsat.