Belarusian customs officers seize laptop from Danish journalist

2012 2012-05-15T17:41:08+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 12 May customs officers at Minsk-2 airport carried out a 4-hour examination of a Danish journalist Jens Nilsen.

Materials for an article about trade unions in Belarus, electronic data carriers, a notebook were seized from him, as well as a book by Roi Miadzvedzeu “Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Outline of Belarusian model”. has been informed about that by an independent trade union of the Radio and Electronic industry.

Jens Nilsen stayed in Belarus for several days. The Danish journalist came to Belarus to get acquainted with the activities of Belarusian trade Unions in detail, and to tell about them in Danish trade union newspapers then.

“We closely cooperate with trade unions of different countries, including Denmark,” told the chairman of the Trade union of radio and electronic industry Henadz Fiadynich. “But not much is known about us in Denmark, and in most other countries. Jens met with trade union activists, workers whose rights had been violated. He was also interested in the activities of the Trade Unions’ Federation of Belarus, in order to convey unbiased information on the situation in Belarus. The journalist was not explained on what grounds his personal things had been seized from him.”

“Jens Nilsen speaks Russian well. He had been working as a correspondent of a Danish newspaper in Russia. The journalist asked customs agents what claims they had. And they said in response, that they had no claims against him,” Henadz Fiadynich said.

While he was examined by customs officers, the plane took off. Though the authorities were to organize a departure from Belarus for a foreign citizen, as he was late for the plane due to their fault, and no formal charges against him were filed, we had to give him a lift from the airport ourselves, and take him to the railway station urgently, to be on time for him to take a train to Vilnius. His visa expired on 12 May and he could become a violator of visa regime.”

Henadz Fiadynich noted that such accidents are becoming regular of late.

“Recently our colleagues from Denmark were not given visas. They had to sit in the airport for the whole day and then fly back to Copenhagen. For the same reason Swedish trade union trainers could not held a seminar. It looks as if the authorities are carefully spying on everyone who had contacts with representatives of independent trade unions, and organize such “cordial parting or welcoming ceremonies” for them.”

According to the chairman of the REI trade union, such actions of representatives of the state authorities do not add to a positive image of the country.

“Jens is a journalist. He will certainly write about his negative experience of visiting Belarus. And who will have a desire to come here? Even for an excursion,” Henadz Fiadynich summed up with regret.

Latest news