Danish journalist lost his flight because of search and almost became a visa regime violator
On May 12, customs officers at "Minsk 2" Airport staged a four-hour-long personal search of a Danish journalist Jens Nielsen. They confiscated from him materials for an article about trade unions in Belarus, electronic data carriers, a laptop and a book by Roy Medvedev, "Alexander Lukashenko. Contours of Belarusian Model".
The Praca-by.info has learnt about the incident at the REP Independent Trade Union.
Jens Nielsen was in Belarus for several days: he came to our country in order to get better acquainted with the activities of the Belarusian trade union, and then to tell about it in the pages of the Danish trade union press.
"We work closely with trade unions of different countries, including Denmark," said Gennady Fedynich, the Chairman of the REP. "However, in Denmark, like in many other countries, people know little about us. Here, Jens met trade union activists and workers whose rights are violated. He was also interested in the activities of trade unions of the FPB, in order to present objective information about the situation in Belarus."
The journalist was not explained on what grounds his personal belongings had been taken away from him.
"Jens Nielsen is fluent in Russian: he has long worked as a correspondent of a Danish newspaper in Russia. The journalist asked the customs officers on what the claims were against him. In response, he heard 'No claims'," said Gennady Fedynich. "While he was searched, his aircraft flew away. And although the authorities were obliged to organize a flight from Belarus for a foreign national, as he missed his flight for their fault, and no charges had been presented to him, we had to take him from the airport ourselves, in order to immediately go to the railway station to catch the train to Vilnius. Because his visa expired on May 12, and he could become a violator of the visa regime."
Gennady Fedynich has noted that similar incidents have recently become regular.
"Recently, our colleagues from Denmark were rejected visas. They had to sit at the airport all day and fly back to Copenhagen at night. For the same reason, Swedish trade union trainers were unable to hold a seminar in Belarus. It seems that the authorities are carefully shadowing all those in contact with activists of independent trade unions, and arrange this sort of 'warm welcome or farewell' for them."
In the opinion of the REP Chairman, such actions of state officials are strongly damaging the image of the country.
"Jens is a journalist; and surely he'll write about his poor experience of visiting Belarus. And who then will want to come here? Even for an excursion…" Gennady Fedynich has concluded with regret.