Examination of the prohibited book by Ales Bialiatski abolished by the State Customs Committee until... a new examination

2013 2013-11-13T15:34:26+0300 2013-11-13T15:36:05+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/bialiacki-kniha.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Book by Ales Bialiatski, "Enlightened by Belarusianness"

Book by Ales Bialiatski, "Enlightened by Belarusianness"


The member of the Board of the HRC "Viasna" Tatsiana Reviaka received a response to her complaint from the State Customs Committee. She appealed against the violations of the customs officials of the Ashmiany Customs Office during the appointment of an expert examination of the book by Ales Bialiatski “Enlightened by the Belarusian issue” and the violations on the part of the “expert commission” which concluded that the book "could damage the image of the Republic of Belarus".

The Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee Siarhei Barysiuk reports: "State Customs Committee of Belarus upheld the actions of officials of the Ashmiany customs during the customs control. However, considering your disagreement with the conclusion of the experts, as well as the lack of specific findings of the experts on the questions put by the Ashmiany customs office in its decision to appoint the customs examination, the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus, guided by Article 143 of the Customs Code of the Customs Union to organize a re-examination in the shortest terms... The State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus confirms the correctness of the decision taken by the Ashmiany Customs Office and refuses to grant your complaint".

Why do the authorities take such half-measures?
If the customs officials committed no violations, why is the re-examination appointed? Tatsiana Reviaka puts this question in her new complaint to the State Customs Committee.

"I am not satisfied with the fact that the customs committee did not assess the actions of employees of the Ashmiany customs. The appointment of the re-examination is ostensibly due only to the fact that I did not like the previous one, not because a violation of the law and violation of the order of the appointment of the examination and the manner of its implementation,” explains Tatsiana Reviaka. “That's why the aim of my appeal is to prevent such illegal actions in the future not only towards me, but also towards others who may find themselves in this situation, not having enough experience, training and perseverance to fight for
making the authorities to act in accordance with the law, not with someone's desire, reluctance or phone calls ..."

At the same time, human rights
activist doesn't rule out that her perseverance in this case can cause a violent response: "It is a question of extremism, which was not found in the book by Ales Bialiatski, according to the preliminary examination. I do not rule out, and this is my deep concern that there will be some element of revenge for this persistence, and something "extremist" will be attributed to the assessment of this book. But I still hope for common sense."

At the same time, Tatsiana Reviaka demanded that the State Customs committee give her an answer concerning the “circumstances of the case”, mentioned by the “expert commission” in its letter. The human rights activist asked to be sent a copy of this document which influenced the fate of the book.

Bear in mind that 40 copies of the collection of literary articles and essays "Enlightened by the Belarusian Issue" wereconfiscated from the human rights activist Tatsiana Reviaka on 3 July 2012 at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border checkpoint "Kamenny Loh" when she drove them from Vilnius to Belarus. Ashmiany Customs sent the book for an expert examination, asking the questions about the presence of calls to extremist activities or its propaganda or any information which could cause political or economic harm to the state or public safety, health or morals of the people of Belarus. On 24-30 July the expert commission, consisting of two scientists of the Hrodna State University held an examination, the results of which acknowledged that the book "could damage the image of the Republic of Belarus".