Interior Minister justifies total lawlessness by riot policemen

2010 2010-01-28T18:29:21+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Today the Interior Minister of Belarus has stated that during the opposition rallies journalists provoke brutality of riot policemen themselves.

At today’s press-conference in Minsk journalists grumbled to the minister of the Interior Affairs Anatoly Kulyashou at brutal actions of policemen during opposition rallies, when photo reporters and cameramen are hindered from performing their professional functions, Radio Svaboda informs.

“I know nothing about that,” Kulyashou said and offered journalists to inform him personally of such facts and send pictures of those policemen who do such things. The minister does not exclude that those where provocations by journalists themselves or by participants of rallies.

We remind that the Belarusian Association of Journalists filed letters to the prosecutor’s office and Ministry of Internal Affairs on September 23 demanding to investigate the facts of violation of the rights of journalists during an opposition rally on October square. On October 30, journalists received a letter from the main board of MIA’s internal security department. The answer, signed by the head of its third section Vital Kistserny, says that the main police department of the Minsk city executive committee has carried out an exhaustive check-up and BAJ has been informed about it “in the order established by law”.

However, the BAJ hasn’t received any letter regarding the check-up results yet. Though lawyers called to the policemen and reminded about the promise to send them the letter many times.

Moreover, while the complaint was being considered, on October 16, riot policemen hindered the work of journalists during dispersal of a peaceful rally of solidarity. While during the rallies on September 9 and 16 each journalist was accompanied by 2 or 3 persons, but this time mass media journalists were encircled by 5 riot policemen, who seized cameras and damaged equipment.

Yauhen Paludzen, the deputy minister of internal affairs, said on October 22 that police had worked out the measures that would change the form of work with journalists at mass rallies. The deputy interior minister emphasized that the Belarusian militia used the experience of their German colleagues when working out a complex of measures.

“We have taken the experience of German police, who work at street actions of right, left and green movements. The press can’t film faces of policemen and demonstrators. Only wide shots are allowed. I think we should adopt this experience,” he said.

“If police beat people at demonstrations, the duty of a journalist is to record this,” the press service of the German Journalists Association said in response to the Belarusian deputy minister.

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