Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

KGB returns PCs to opposition activists in Homyel 18 months after seizure

The Homyel regional department of the Committee for State Security (KGB) on May 11 returned to local opposition activists six PCs that it seized in October 2007.

The KGB took away the computer equipment as part of its criminal investigation against young opposition activists whom it suspected of affiliation with an unregistered opposition organization called Malady Front. Shortly before the 2006 presidential elections, the Belarusian authorities amended the Criminal Code to make "acting on behalf of an unregistered organization" a criminal offense.

Some PCs were given back with "defects", Vasil Palyakow, chairman of the regional organization of the opposition United Civic Party, told BelaPAN. "The system board has disappeared from my PC, while new files, which had not been on my computer before the raid and the seizure of the equipment, have appeared", he said, noting that the new files were the charter, questionnaire and instruction booklet of Malady Front. "In addition, there are eight viruses", he said. Mr. Palyakow suggested that the KGB had created the files deliberately to "justify the detention of the equipment for year and a half".

The raid on the office of the United Civic Party in Homyel was conducted as part of the KGB’s probe into the possible affiliation of Andrey Tsyanyuta resident in Homyel and Kiryl Atamanchyk resident in Zhlobin with Malady Front. The criminal charge against Mr. Tsyanyuta has been dropped. Mr. Atamanchyk is still facing the charge.