19 January 2018, Friday, 0:32

Photo albums seized from journalist Yulia Darashkevich on border

Customs officers seized 42 photo albums “Belarus Press Photo 2011” for expert examination at Kamenny Loh border checkpoint.

The website charter97.org received this information from Yulia Darashkevich, an organiser of the contest “Belarus Press Photo”:

Vadzim Zamirouski, a contest organiser, and I were going to Asipovichy from Lithuania through Kamenny Loh border checkpoint. We had 42 old photo albums “Belarus Press Photo 2011”. Belarusian customs officers seized them for expert examination to make sure they didn't contain the information that may cause damage to the state. We received a seizure report. We also gave written explanations. We had to explain why we had those albums and say we were organisers of the contest.

The photo journalist says they were not going to sell the albums:

“We explained to them that the albums were published legally a long time ago and were legally delivered to Belarus. All taxes were paid. We said we had all necessary customs documents. We bring some dozens of albums to our exhibitions in Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries. We try to show our books at different presentations devoted to Belarus. It was not a parcel of goods, we had 14 albums each.”

Yulia Darashkevich notes customs officers already seized photo albums earlier:

“But they could not find confirmation in their database that the albums had already been checked. We will receive back the books after the examination, which usually takes a month. Our albums were already seized for examination two years ago. It was the first issue. They returned the albums a month later and said they hadn't found anything dangerous.”

Border guards had questions about the album cover. It is a photo by Belarusian photographer Syarhei Hudzilin showing soldiers gathered in a room to watch Panorama propaganda programme, which is obligatory for all soldiers.