KGB and Militia Raid Apartment of Gay TV Journalist


PC hard drive, memory stick and video camera impounded




■ Gay TV journalist Siarhei Padsasonny during the ‘visit’ by militia and KGB officers on Saturday.
photo via The Telegraf/
More photos

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 search.

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 stick.

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 website HERE.  The text is in Russian.


  Belarus LGBT website

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.  

Posted: 16 January 2008 at 16:30 (UK time)




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