21 January 2018, Sunday, 13:51

Investigation Committee: Observers detained after anonymous call about “terrorists”


Minsk’s Tsentralny district office of the Investigation Committee refused to open a criminal case over a complaint of heads of the project “Election Observation: Theory and Practice”.

Fifteen observers were detained on September 24, 2012, a day after the Belarusian “parliamentary elections” in Jazz Hostel in Minsk. The observers and the hostel staff were taken to the Tsentrlany district police department. Policemen searched their bags and fingerprinted the observers. The detained people were set free three hours later, the website of the organization reports.

Anastasia Matchanka, the project leader, filed a complaint to the Investigation Committee asking to identify the persons, who had detained them, and carry out an inquiry over the illegal, in her opinion, detention. Tatyana Chulitskaya, a lecturer from European Humanities University who also was detained on September 24, filed a similar complaint to the investigative agencies.

The reply of senior lieutenant Papchanka, an investigator from the Tsentlrany district office of the Committee, says that the observers were detained in connection with a telephone call from an anonymous person who reported a terrorist threat.

“An officer on duty had a telephone call at 10 a.m. from an anonymous person, who explained there was a group of people from the Caucasus region living without registration in Jazz hostel on 37 Mozyrskaya Street in Minsk. The man said they probably had relation to terrorist activities and hung up the phone,” the answer of the Investigation Committee says.

“As the Interior Ministry earlier received information that a group of criminals from the Republic of Kazakhstan may hide in Belarus and prepare terrorist attacks, the officer on duty informed the main police department about the message. Top officers of the main police department made a decision to take persons from Jazz Hostel to the police station for identification, fingerprinting and filming,” the Investigation Committee reports.

The Committee investigator notes in his letter that three Kazakh citizens, who really violated the rules of staying in Belarus, were found in the hostel. They were taken to the police department.

The Investigation Committee refused to initiate a criminal case against policemen, because no elements of crime were found. The detainees draw attention to the fact that the investigator doesn’t explain why laptops and phones of some detained people were taken for examination.