17 February 2019, Sunday, 9:22
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Belarus Press Photo albums taken to KGB?


The information was received from representatives of the Ashmyany customs office.

“All materials were sent to representatives of the State Security Committee (KGB). That's all what I can say,” the head of the smuggling and administrative customs violations department Ihar Yakutsenka said to the press service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ).

Journalists failed to get confirmation from the KGB – no one answers the phone in the reception office, which a KGB officer on duty advised to contact.

It should be reminded that in the middle of January the BAJ received a written answer from the Ashmyany customs office to its previous request regarding Belarus Press Photo 2011 albums. The BAJ asked if the albums had been destroyed and who had carried out the customs examination.

It followed from the answer that the albums had not been destroyed and owners had chances to get them back. Customs officers suspected the books contains elements of extremism, but the ideological department of the Hrodna regional executive committee didn't find sings of extremism during the examination. The customs officers wrote they were waiting for the ideological department to return the albums so that they were able to send them to the owners.

The BAJ asked about the progress on January 19 and the customs office replied “the situation changed”, asked to call in 15 minutes and later said the albums had been given to the KGB.

It should be reminded that 41 Belarus Press Photo 2011 albums were seized at Kamenny Loh border checkpoint from Belarusian photographers Alyaksandr Vasyukovich and Yulia Darashkevich on November 12, 2012.