■ Gay TV journalist
Siarhei Padsasonny during the
‘visit’ by militia and KGB officers on
photo via The Telegraf/Navini.by
From a Special
Correspondent in Belarus
GOMEL, January 16, 2008 – Openly
gay journalist Siarhei Padsasonny was alone in his apartment in Valatauskaya
Street, Gomel, on Saturday evening. There was a knock on the door.
It was the militia.
Officer Prakapenka, district
officer from the militia department of the Central district, demanded to be
let in, saying that he had reports of noise coming from the apartment that
was disturbing the downstairs neighbours.
Mr. Padsasonny, a member of the
Belarusian Association of Journalists, was perplexed. Not only was he
alone, but his “neighbours downstairs” was in fact a grocery store, which
was closed for the night.
Then came the arrival of the KGB,
led by Lt. Bojak.
”They said they had search warrant,
and demanded that I open the door,” Mr. Padsasonny told Radio Svaboda, the
Belarusian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“I refused, but they warned they
would break the door. The warrant said I was suspected of involving pupils
and students in the Young Front (an opposition youth group banned in
Belarus), with the purpose to harm the state,” he explained.
A group of his gay friends soon
arrived to support the journalist. They offered to be witnesses of the
But the militia and KGB agents
forced them to leave.
The hard disk from the journalist’s
computer was confiscated, along with a video camera and a flash memory
Mr. Padsasonny is said to have fled
Gomel and is now in hiding.
Last year on November 23, KGB
agents took Mr. Padsasonny to the KGB department by force for a so called
“talk” – they were interested in his work with the Poland-based satellite TV
channel Belsat. Two weeks later, KGB officers attempted to detain Mr.
Padsasonny for a second time.
Siarhei Padsasonny is openly gay
and very well-known within Gomel gay community. But in the broader
community he is known for his criticism of Belarusian regime.
■ Further photographs of the militia and KGB operation
can be seen on the Naviny.by website
HERE. The text is in Russian.
||Belarus LGBT website
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
Posted: 16 January 2008 at
16:30 (UK time)