State Bodies Reply to BAJ They Can Do Nothing About Arrests of Journalists
The Belarusian Association of Journalists addressed to the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee, asking to take actions in the cases of the recent arrests of Dzmitry Halko and Aliaksandr Yarashevich.
We remind that Dzmitry Halko and Aliaksandr Yarashevich were detained after covering an action of solidarity – civil activists welcomed people coming out from Akrestsina prison. The journalists were arrested when they were near a subway station, and sentenced to 10 and 12 days’ administrative arrests for “disobeying police’s demands”.
The Ministry of Justice, which was asked to ensure publicity of trials, answers that “procedural questions of a judicial hearing lie beyond its competence”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, which was asked to ensure that police implement law and do not abuse their powers, briefly informs that “activities of law enforcement bodies are regulated by the “Law on Law Enforcement agencies”, and that “control and supervision are carried according to the procedure envisaged by legislation”.
The General Prosecutor’s Office, who was asked to hold a check-up into the allegations of unlawful detentions, says the arrested journalists have to file complaints by themselves: “If the people mentioned in your address think that /…./ their rights and lawful interests were violated, they have the right to complain to the prosecutor’s office or to court themselves”.
The Investigative Committee, which was asked to check if the actions of the policemen contained any components of crime (with regard to article 198 of the Criminal Code, creating obstacles to professional journalistic activities), says: “Since you do not give any objective facts in your request which would indicate that the employees of law enforcement agencies and employees of the court did some actions falling under criminal liability, there are no grounds for the Investigative Committee to hold a check-up, according to the Code of Criminal Procedure of Belarus.”