Minsk city public prosecutor’s office to examine once again an issue of the return of journalists’ property
The issue of returning computers and other property to journalists, confiscated during the searches of 27 and 28 March, «will be dealt with once again after the given property is examined». This is stated in another letter from Minsk City Public Prosecutor’s Office in response to an appeal of BAJ.
Minsk City Public Prosecutor’s Office stated once again that the searches were held in connection to preliminary investigation of a criminal case initiated in 2005 against A. Minich, P. Marozau and A. Abozau. They are accused of calumny of the President, which is the violation of Article 367 of the Criminal Code.
According to Siarhej Ivanou, the head of Investigation Department of Minsk City Public Prosecutor’s Office, the authorization for conducting the searches was given «with the presence of sufficient grounds and in accordance with requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure».
«It is surprising that examining of the property confiscated takes so long. It is obvious these are the things which have no connection to the criminal case, namely headsets, dictaphones, cameras, different types of legal printing materials, etc.», Mihail Pastuhou, the head of BAJ Center of Legal Assistance to Media, says.
In the beginning of April BAJ applied to Ryhor Vasilevich, the General Prosecutor, with a letter, in which Belarusian Association of Journalists insisted on «restoring legality, returning the property confiscated and defending the rights of journalists». The «sufficient legal grounds» for the searches were also doubted in the appeal. Copies of the appeal were sent to Yury Zhadobin, the head of KGB, and Mikalaj Kulik, Minsk City Public Prosecutor. Soon after the General Prosecutor replied that he resent the appeal of BAJ to Minsk City Public Prosecutor’s Office.