20 August 2019, Tuesday, 1:14
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Independent Journalist To Police: It Seems You Had It Out. So Why To Break Down Doors?

Independent Journalist To Police: It Seems You Had It Out. So Why To Break Down Doors?
LIUBOU LUNIOVA
PHOTO: BAJ

The police have been looking for the journalist in Minsk.

On June 19th, Belsat journalist Liubou Luniova reported about an incident that had recently happened to her and the police officers, the Human Rights Center Viasna writes.

The police knocked out the doors of the vestibule in the house where she lives, broke through the doors of the apartment, questioned the neighbors, and when they found out she was not at home, they called her on the phone and politely talked about the accreditation.

When the journalist received a call from the Savietski district police department of Minsk, she was at the dacha at that time. The policeman asked her to give evidence regarding her accreditation as a foreign journalist of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.

"It's a common thing for Belsat journalists," - Luniova says.

She replied to the policeman that she would come on Monday. The story could have been over, but when her neighbors arrived home, they told her that police officers had raised an alarm in the house in search of the journalist on the day of the call.

"On that day, at first two policemen were calling and knocking on the doors of the vestibule. So that the neighbors from other floors came out to the stairs. Then they knocked out the doors of the vestibule and began to knock on the doors with their fists, both on my door and on the door of the neighbours. When the neighbor came out, they started asking her where I was. They were shouting at her and demanding to tell the truth. She said, "I told them I hadn' t seen you lately. Maybe in the country house, maybe gone for a vacation. And they: they did: "Tell the truth!" "I got confused. It's like I'm to blame for something," - the neighbor said. Of course, they apologised to her for the "inconvenience"," - Luniova says.

The journalist is bewildered by this situation because she does not understand the purpose and reasons for such actions of the police:

"Now I'm thinking: Well, they called by phone. It seems that they have found out everything. Why did they break down the doors?

Brest freelance journalist Milana Kharytonava says:

"We have such a thing as well - they call, but I say to send a summons by mail, and I will come. They agree. But the next day, they still catch you in the entrance or yard or break into an apartment..."

This has also been the case with journalist Alina Skrebunova from Mahiliou:

"The situation was the same. They came to the apartment in Mahiliou, and I was in Turau. They had warned me over the phone that they could trace me through the SIM card, but they never found me... After all, I was in Turov, and they were breaking into the apartment in Mahiliou.