NTV journalist Aleksey Malkov: “Belarusian secret services threatened me openly”

2009 2009-08-24T19:34:46+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/logo_ntv.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The deported Russian journalist says people in mufti questioned him in a neglected sanatorium in the forest.

We remind that a film crew of the Russian NTV channel, namely journalist Andrei Malkov and camera operator Yury Babenko, was deported from Belarus on August 14. The film crew was making a report about the missing politicians and public activists. The Russian journalist interviewed the wife of parliamentary vice speaker Viktar Hanchar disappeared in 1999 and the wife of journalist Zmitser Zavadski, who disappeared in 2000. The international community accuses a number of high-ranking Belarusian officials from Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s inner circle of their involvement in the kidnapping.

Camera operator Yury Babenko told in an interview to Belarusian mass media that he and Andrei Malkov had been detained near a Belarusian hotel, where they had stayed, by militia and secret services. They got in a van, were driven to the forest, their cassettes, SIM-cards were confiscated; the journalists were questioned and guarded to Orsha for a train to Moscow.

NTV journalist Aleksey Malkov called his detention a “show” in an interview to www.ucpb.org.

“The first day in Belarus was calm,” he reminds. “I relaxed enjoying my staying in Minsk. But the next day I noticed we were spied. This was rather primitive. I even came to the people men escorting me and asked if they had any questions to me. Then confused and said: “No”. I had to ask my colleagues to phone me every thirty minutes.

“We noticed a crowd of people in uniform and in mufti near the hotel,” Aleksey Malkov tells. “A van drove up. I was talking on the phone when a group of people came up. I said they would probably detain me. In a moment the telephone was snatched from my hands and I was pushed in the van. We were taken to a sanatorium in the forest. Only one man in the group introduced himself, when I tried to know the names of the others and the place of their work, I was met by an open direct threat. Frankly speaking, it was scary. My head was full of bad forebodings.”

The Russian journalist claims the Belarusian secret services acts in a rude and insolent way.

“I had an impression that the Belarusian secret services thought a special group had arrived in Belarus to fulfil a secret task under the pretence of being journalists. When they checked my name in a database and found out I was an NTV journalist, they became surprised and disappointed,” the journalists tells. “We were guarded to Orsha, we took a train and left the country. All footages and SIM-cards were confiscated. I don’t understand why the organize this show, they could have seize the footage in a hotel room. Now I know what the real situation in Belarus is. The secret services there act in a rude and insolent way.