Ashmiany district court has found “the extremist nature” of the photobook. As for the reporters, they are to be 217.600 Blr fined.
The journalists are going to file complaints against the court decision to all authorities, Yuliya Darashkevich, one of the organisers of the contest, told Belsat TV. They hope for a positive outcome of their appeal remembering the criminal case against magazine Arche which was never initiated.
It is the copies of the photobook that were seized by Belarusian customs officers In November 2012. Being declared illegal by customs experts the copies were to be burnt but later they were sent for re-inspection.
The board that expertized the photobook included Vadzim Khilyuta, the HOC of the department of criminal law and criminology of Law Faculty at Hrodna University, Aksana Shulga, the HOC of foreign languages department at Hrodna University, Aliaksandr Bondar, assistant professor of Arts Faculty at Hrodna University, and Pavel Skrabko, the Head of Ideology Department in Hrodna Executive Committee. The latter can boast of experience of that kind: earlier he tried to find elements of libel on the Belarusian president and discrediting the country in Andrzej Poczobut’s articles.
As a result, the State Security Committee (KGB) Department in Hrodna filed a lawsuit in court demanding to declare the contents of photobooks Belarus Press Photo-2011 extremist. Referring to experts’ opinion, the KGB states that the photobook includes distorted and untrue pictures of Belarus’ political, economic and social life.