Journalist Maryna Koktysh detained, searched at Lithuanian border
Journalist Maryna Koktysh became the latest critic of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government to be taken off a train and detained by Belarusian customs officers at the Lithuanian border.
The deputy chief editor of the private newspaper Narodnaya Volya was ordered to alight at the border late on May 26 as she was traveling to Minsk from Vilnius, where she had attended a conference timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Independent Institute for Social, Economic and Political Studies.
As the journalist told BelaPAN, she was subjected to a search. Although Ms. Koktysh did not have a laptop computer, other data storage devices or cash on her, she was detained for four hours at the border.
The customs officers who searched the woman were constantly receiving instructions by phone, Ms. Koktysh said.
The journalist was puzzled by the detention. She had traveled to the Lithuanian capital more than a week before and had not been detained.
“I had to experience a stressful situation, I had to spend my own money on buying a new ticket to Minsk, my personal plans were disrupted, they found nothing on me, but no one even apologized,” Ms. Koktysh said.
The journalist said that she would not formally complain to authorities over the incident, explaining that it would be a waste of time.
On May 25, two independent trade union leaders and a journalist were also taken off a Minsk-bound train and searched at the Lithuanian border. Belarusian customs officers seized cash, a laptop computer and a USB flash drive from them for an “examination.”