2009 30/10
Юлія Дарашкевіч

Yuliya Darashkevich

In the evening of 29 October police arrested the press photographers, members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), Yuliya Darashkevich (“Nasha Niva”) and Uladzimir Grydzin (a freelance correspondent for Radio “Svaboda”) for the photographing of white-red-white flags, placed on the Nezalezhnastsi Avenue in Minsk by activists of the campaign “European Belarus”.

As Uladzimir Grydzin told to the press service of the BAJ, he does not even have time to make a single photograph. After 19.00 he came out of the car in the Uruchcha district and was about to start shooting when the policemen ran up to him, twisted his arms and forcibly put into a car. The policemen were not paying attention to the press card (badge of the BAJ) of Uladzimir Grydzin. On the way to the police department of Pershamaiski district he was beaten on the head, threatened with physical violence. In the police department the policemen had forcibly seized the camera, while repeatedly struck the body and damaged equipment. In addition, they reviewed all his things, took fingerprints, and took the pictures and video. All this were made without being drawn up a report.

After keeping the journalist in the police department for more than 3 hours, the equipment was returned to him and he was released. On 30 October Uladzimir Grydzin wrote a complaint against the policemen in the police department of Minsk Pershamaiski district, and soon plans to complain to higher authorities.

Yuliya Darashkevich still does not make any complaints, but strongly defended her rights in the police department.

The journalist was also detained on the Nezalezhnastsi Avenue, around 19.20, when she took pictures of the flags. The police car drove to her, despite her press card, the policemen roughly pushed her into a car and drove to the police department of Pershamaiski district.
As Yuliya told to the BAJ, all the detainees (several young people and photojournalist Uladzimir Grydzin) were gathered in the “hall of prevention” together with 8 more police officers, none of whom identified himself. Some of them have machine guns.

The phones of all detainees were taken away. Police seized the camera of both Uladzimir Grydzin, and Yuliya Darashkevich. The journalist has demanded to draw up the report of the seizure thereby causing laughter and horseplay in her address by the policemen. The policemen ordered her to put all things out of the bag and made their list. “I was sure that I carry on in the special receiving point at the Akrestsina, since they even took away my laces and wedding ring.”

The policemen were going to take Yuliya’s fingerprints and register her. However, the journalist has demonstrated a good knowledge of her rights. Stating that the forced fingerprinting should only be used in the case the person is brought to the administrative responsibility, she demanded to draw the report – “at least to know what I am brought for.”

“Apparently, they had no orders to draw up a report on the journalists, and they wanted to “obtain our fingers” and put us to the register without any papers”, – believes Yuliya Darashkevich. According to the journalist, the policemen even did not give her to sign the composed list of her things.
After almost 4 hours of walking in different rooms, about 23.30, Yuliya Darashkevich was released. According to the journalist, personal car, which she left at the place of detention, was brought to the police department of Pershamaiski district by the evacuator. They did not return her documents till they made a full inspection of the car.

“This is outrageous behavior, which can not be left unpunished, – the deputy chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Andrei Bastunets, says. – We still have not received a clear answer to our appeals over the recent violations of journalists’ rights and will again appeal to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus, including on these new facts. I believe that journalists should also send a personal complaint to the prosecutor’s offices. The BAJ is ready to provide assistance in this matter.”

According to the press service of the BAJ
Ales Leta

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