Valiantsin Stefanovich: Minister's explanations are beyond criticism
Vigilance of the police towards photographers aims at "protecting citizens against potential threats". This was announced by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus Ihar Shunevich.
"If a police officer has an inner conviction that there is a threat that you're shooting for wrong aims, he must verify that what you're shooting," said the head of the Interior Ministry.
Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich believes that the minister's explanations do not hold water:
“It's quite surprising to hear such interpretation of the legislation from the Minister, as all the grounds for detention of citizens are set out in the Law on Internal Affairs, and also in the Code of Administrative Offenses. A person can be detained only suspicion of an offense, that's why all interpretations like “you're shooting and we do not know what for you are doing it, that's why we'll detain you” are absolutely lawless and are nothing but arbitrary detention.
Moreover, the Minister of Internal Affairs said that the photographerswouldn't be compensated any damage arising from missing trains, planes, etc. as a result of detention. Shunevich promised to think about putting the appropriate shields on all objects, photographing of which can become a reason for inspection.