Belarus: DW correspondent held at police station for hours | DW's press releases | DW | 28.08.2020
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Belarus: DW correspondent held at police station for hours

DW Editor-in-Chief Kasper-Claridge said the arrest of DW correspondent Alexandra Boguslavskaya last night was "yet another assault on press freedom in Belarus."

Police forces in Minsk on August 27, 2020

Police forces in Minsk on August 27, 2020

“These supposed document checks are an all-too transparent attempt to hinder independent reporting, which prevent people from receiving reliable information and represent yet another assault on press freedom in Belarus,” DW Editor-inChief Manuela Kasper-Claridge said on the arrest of DW correspondent Alexandra Boguslavskaya last night.

Belarus Aleksandra Boguslawskaya, DW-Korrespondentin in Minsk freigelassen

Aleksandra Boguslavskaya

Boguslavskaya was arrested on August 27 at about 7 pm in the center of Minsk. Reporting for DW, the journalist was near a protest action against the acting government. 

Without prior notice or request to leave the location, Boguslavskaya was arrested together with several journalists and taken to the police station Oktyabr'skaya. After almost six hours, Boguslavskaya was allowed to leave the station again. Her cell phone confiscated in the evening was not returned to her until later on Friday. 

Belarus Festnahmen von Journalisten in Minsk

Police station in Minsk where the journalists were held

Boguslavskaya said that people in civilian clothes wearing face masks did not introduce themselves to the journalists at the police station and did not give any explanation for their arrest. The men asked the journalists to unlock their smartphones. After viewing photos and videos and deleting files showing protest actions, some journalists were allowed to leave. Boguslavskaya refused to unlock her smartphones, which was then confiscated without explanation. She was only told that she could come pick it up on Friday. Boguslavskaya said that she was not allowed to use the phone and that her lawyer, who was informed by her husband, was not allowed to see her.

At no time violence was used and she was "treated well," Boguslavskaya said.
Before her release, she was informed that an "administrative proceeding would be initiated against her for doing journalistic work without accreditation," despite complete and repeated submission of the documents.  

When collecting her cell phone on Friday, the police officers at the police station assured Boguslavskaya that the authorities had "stopped the administrative process." 

A spokeswoman for the Belarusian Ministry of the Interior confirmed this to DW today. The press office further stated that the journalists were not arrested but were brought to the police station only for "examination of their documents confirming the legitimacy of their professional activity". According to Belarusian law, the investigation of the personal data must not take longer than three hours.

DW Kommentatorenbild Manuela Kasper-Claridge

DW Editor-in-Chief Manuela Kasper-Claridge

DW Editor-in-Chief Kasper-Claridge: “I am pleased that our correspondent has been released, but still extremely concerned about her nonsensical arrest in Belarus. It is also unacceptable that her phone was only returned to her today.” 

“DW correspondents as well as journalists from other media must be allowed to continue their work freely and without unnecessary harassment from the authorities,” said Kasper-Claridge.

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EINSCHRÄNKUNG DW Personenfoto | Corporate Communications | Carla Hagemann

Carla Hagemann

Corporate Spokesperson and Head of Corporate Communications

 

T +49.228.429.2042

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