Police detain circulation of 'Vitebskiy Kurier' with interviews of potential candidates for presidency
The circulation of the newspaper was detained while its chief editor, Viktar Ramniou, transported it from the Russian town of Slolensk, where it is printed. The edition was registered in the Russian Federation, as the local authorities made it impossible to register it in Vitsebsk.
Ramniou's car was stopped near Liozna and the policemen ordered him to drive to the Liozna District Police Department. There the police confiscated from Mr. Ramnion 11,000 copies of the newspaper with articles about the potential candidates for the presidential position Yury Hlushakou and Siarhei Ryzhkou.
The Vitsebsk human rights defender Pavel Levinau came to Liozna to support the detainee.
'Viktar Ramniou was taken to the Liozna District Court and was going to be tried for unlawful distribution of the edition (the authorities consider transportation as distribution). The police had one pretension: that one needs an official permission for distributing Russian editions on the territory of Belarus. However, the majority of the Russian newspapers and magazines, such as Speed-info and Liza are sold in Belarus without any special permissions. However, Vitebskiy Kurier is a socio-political edition. Viktar Ramniou said to the judge he wanted to hire a counsel, that's why the trial was postponed to 12 October. This is not the first case when a circulation of the newspaper is arrested and the editor is tried on such occasion. As a rule, such incidents take place during significant socio-political events in the country,' commented Mr. Levinau.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections