Request for prosecution of state TV host referred to KGB 11:23, 10/02/2006
Belarusian opposition activist Oksana Novikova`s request for criminal prosecution of a state TV host has been referred to the Committee for State Security (KGB). On January 20, Ms. Novikova asked the Minsk City Prosecutor`s Office to open a criminal inquiry into a show aired by the First National Channel, known as BT, which she said was aimed at promoting war.
He request was referred to the Prosecutor`s Office of Minsk`s Pervomaisky District, then to the Minsk and Minsk Region KGB Department and ended up at the KGB head office.
The complaint targets "Political Technologies," an analytical program by Yevgeny Novikov, known for his controversial anti-West remarks, that was given the channel`s prime time slot on January 12.
Ms. Novikova asked prosecutors to institute criminal proceedings under Part 1 of the Criminal Code`s Article 123 that penalizes "propaganda of war" and carries a fine or a "restricted freedom" sentence of up to three years.
"I was angered by the contents of the program that said about the alleged plans by NATO, Lithuania and Poland to embark on hostilities against Belarus. One gets fearful because of the fact that the show might express the opinion not only of its author but also of the country`s leadership," Ms. Novikova said.
On February 8, police investigator Vladimir Galitsky notified Ms. Novikova that he had reopened a 2004 criminal case, in which she was suspected of using a forged passport to obtain residence address registration in Minsk. The police conducted a search in her apartment on the same day
The activist says that the investigation was reopened in retaliation for her demand for criminal prosecution of the BT host.
Ms. Novikova had trouble with the police many times before, mainly through her opposition activities.
In 2004, a judge in Minsk sentenced her to 2 1/2 years of "restricted freedom," after finding her guilty of distributing leaflets that contained "slanderous, knowingly false information" that accused the head of state of "grave crimes." The case was sent for a review later because of her pregnancy.