Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Riot Militiamen Attacked Journalists and Remain Unpunished


The results of the check-up over the facts of violation the rights of journalists, allegedly carried out by the main militia department of the Minsk city executive committee, cant be found for almost two months.

We remind that the Belarusian Association of Journalists filed letters to the prosecutors office and Ministry of Internal Affairs on September 23 demanding to investigate the facts of violation of the rights of journalists during an opposition rally on October square. On October 30, journalists received a letter from the main board of MIAs internal security department. The answer, signed by the head of its third section Vital Kistserny, says that the main militia department of the Minsk city executive committee has carried out an exhaustive check-up and BAJ has been informed about it "in the order established by law".

BAJ hasnt received any letter regarding the check-up results. Euroradio learnt about this from Mikhail Pastukhou, the head of the BAJ Legal defense Center.

"The answer that we received from the internal security department says the address to the prosecutors office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs were considered, an appropriate check up was conducted and we will be informed about the results. However, BAJ still hasnt received any answers from the Ministry," the expert said.

According to Pastukhou, the main militia department said that the results of the check up had been sent to BAJ on October 9. They dont know where the letter could be lost, but promised to send it again by fax. However, they added they would do this if they had spare time. However, the militia department still hasnt found a free minute, though BAJ lawyers phoned them and reminded about the promise.

As charter97.org has already reported, on October 16, riot militia hindered the work of journalists during dispersal of a peaceful rally of solidarity. While during the rallies on September 9 and 16 each journalist was accompanied by 2 or 3 persons, but this time mass media journalists were encircled by 5 riot militiamen, who seized cameras and damaged equipment.

Yauhen Paludzen, the deputy minister of internal affairs, said on October 22 that militia had worked out the measures that would change the form of work with journalists at mass rallies.

"The press and militia will work in such a way in the nearest time: there will be press-officers, militiamen in blue vests at mass events. Journalists will be able to refer them on all questions," Paludzen said.

The deputy interior minister emphasized that the Belarusian militia used the experience of their German colleagues when working out a complex of measures.

"We have taken the experience of German police, who work at street actions of right, left and green movements. The press cant film faces of policemen and demonstrators. Only wide shots are allowed. I think we should use this experience," he said.

"If police beat people at demonstrations, the duty of a journalist is to record this," the press service of the German Journalists Association said in response to the Belarusian deputy minister.