Human rights defender Uladzimir Khilmanovich searched on the border again
In the evening of 7 February the Hrodna
publicist and human rights defender Uladzimir Khilmanovich was
returning to Belarus by the route bus Bialystok-Hrodna.
He was groundlessly detained by the customs officers and border guards of the border crossing point "Bruzgi".
At first the passports were taken away from the few passengers of the route bus by officers of the customs and the border service. After this nobody came to the bus for more than an hour. The driver was only told that somebody had troubles with his passport.
After this, a customs officer entered the bus and proposed Uladzimir Khilmanovich to come to the hall of the customs office, where his belongings were searched. The bus was let go. After the search, Mr. Khilmanovich had to wait for an hour to be issue with a copy of the search report. Then he was returned his passport, put on another bus and finally let in Belarus after 2.5 hours.
"It's difficult to tell the reasons for such "exacerbation" of the vigilance of the border guards. I cross the border approximately once a month and hasn't faced any problems lately. Usually I and many other public activists are put on the lists of "disloyal persons" during important political campaigns – elections and the like. Most probably, the border guards have received some new lists of "political activists", but they never say anything, pointing on customs officers. It can also be petty revenge for my human rights and journalist activities, as far as I often criticize the Hrodna authorities in my articles, or maybe somebody just wanted to show that he worked diligently. In any case, they had no legal reasons to keep me on the border for so much time,"commented Mr. Khilmanovich.