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  • After Hasty Detention and Release, Journalist Still Goes to Questionings

    It’s been a month since the military affairs analyst Aliaksandr Alesin was released under recognizance from the KGB detention. The press service of BAJ took an interview with the journalist about developments in the case.

    How is your case going? Are there any inves­tiga­tive actions?

    Yes, for­mal­ly. I peri­od­i­cal­ly go to ques­tion­ings, and the ques­tions are all the same, I am ques­tioned about some details that have already been explained. It’s becom­ing more rare. It seems they already would be hap­py to close the case some­how. It gained an unex­pect­ed pub­lic out­cry in the West and in Rus­sia as I have many cor­re­spon­dents in dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

    I don’t know at all what they want­ed to get. Any exam­i­na­tion will show that my mate­ri­als are based on open sources, so this is fruit­less. I think they are look­ing for a pos­si­bil­i­ty now to soft­en the case.

    My lawyer is a very accu­rate man and advis­es on cer­tain actions to improve my sit­u­a­tion. For instance, the charges were changed which made my release ossi­ble under recog­ni­zance not to leave the coun­try. Lawyers hope that, bear­ing in mind the age and health con­di­tion and the fact that I have not done any harm, the charges might be dis­missed with some time.

    Any jour­nal­ist might have fears over per­spec­tives to get in a sit­u­a­tion as such. Is there a way to get secured against it, and is it worth secur­ing at all?

    I think it is impos­si­ble to get secured at all. I have worked on mil­i­tary issues for around 20 years. Thanks to crit­i­cal arti­cles I have quite a lot of “friends” in a num­ber of agen­cies – like the Defense Min­istry, at mil­i­tary indus­tries, and I sup­pose they don’t feel favor­able towards me. They don’t want to make infor­ma­tion pub­lic even when it is legal.  /…/

    I did not expect absolute­ly, so I was quite unset­tled.

    But, in prin­ci­ple, none can be secured against such things. It might be the case with some inter­na­tion­al rela­tions, in poli­cies of a cer­tain agency pur­su­ing its own inter­ests etc. Cor­re­spon­dents who I work with also might be inac­cu­rate or loose and unwill­ing­ly put one’s part­ner at risk. As I not only write pub­li­ca­tions, I make sur­veys, infor­ma­tion­al notes, ref­er­ences and the like for a num­ber of inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions.

    I think it is hard to fore­cast where you will get into and for what.

    With the Belaru­sian spe­cial ser­vices being so tight-lipped, it is hard to tell about effec­tive­ness of cer­tain actions. What would be more cor­rect in such sit­u­a­tion – to keep silent, so as not to do harm, or to turn on the alarm?

    I con­sid­er actions of my col­leagues, espe­cial­ly of the chief edi­tor (Viachal­sau Khada­sous­ki, Belorusy I Rynok news­pa­per) very cor­rect and delib­er­at­ed. He in fact made a lot for my defense and held a weighed strat­e­gy thanks to which my sit­u­a­tion has become mit­i­gat­ed. My rel­a­tives were in a hard con­di­tion because after my deten­tion they were rec­om­mend­ed not to spread infor­ma­tion…

    I am thank­ful to col­leagues who pub­lished it in due time because it was absolute­ly rel­e­vant. In all, I think every­one did their best and nobody did any harm. I say thanks to all jour­nal­ists in Belarus and abroad who sup­port­ed me. I am sure it wall had its con­se­quences.

    We remind that Ali­ak­san­dr Alesin, jour­nal­ist of Belorusy I Rynok, mil­i­tary affairs ana­lyst, was detained on Novem­ber 25. Infor­ma­tion about the deten­tion and the place of deten­tion became known to the pub­lic only at the begin­ning of Decem­ber.

    On Decem­ber 8, his rel­a­tives announced that he had been accused of trea­son (arti­cle 356 of the Crim­i­nal Code) and coop­er­a­tion with spe­cial ser­vices or inves­tiga­tive bod­ies of anoth­er state (arti­cle 356.1). It was also report­ed that he was not the main sus­pect, the main per­son under con­sid­er­a­tion was a for­eign diplo­mat. On Decem­ber 10 the jour­nal­ist was released under recog­ni­zance not to leave the coun­try. He said that the charges of trea­son had been dropped; cur­rent­ly he is accused of coop­er­a­tion with for­eign spe­cial ser­vices. He keeps writ­ing in the same out­lets as usu­al.

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