Police raided the Minsk office of Radio Racyja on the evening of May 2, 2012 seizing at least two computers. The radio station’s office is located not far from Independence Avenue police officers were examining all apartments in the building ahead of next week’s Victory Day celebrations that will take place in Victory Square close to the house. After noticing the radio station’s logo and office equipment inside the apartment, the policemen called for back-up.
Radio correspondent Ryhor Sapezhynski said that there was only one correspondent in the office then. «It happened at about 7.30 p.m. In ten minutes, as soon as the working day was over, two local police officers came. Henadz Barbarych had a talk with them. One of the officers noticad the books about the political prisoners which had been taken from the presentation before. He realized that journalists were working there and phoned his superior who ordered to search the office,» Ryhor Sapezhynski said.
The policemen called this total search «inspection». They ignored the journalist’s requirements to explain the difference between «search» and «inspection».
At 11 p.m. the policemen finished searching the office having seized computers and equipment «for the purpose of check». They did not inform the journalists how long this procedure will continue. Along with the computers sound equipment was seized. That makes the Minsk office’s work much more complicated.
The staff continued their work despite the raid. Radio Racyja representatives are about to file a complaint about the raid to a prosecutor’s office.
Based in Bialystok, Radio Racyja is a Polish-funded station that has been denied accreditation as a media outlet by the Belarusian government. Its coverage of Belarusian politics is frowned upon by the authorities.