MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. The Russian Journalists' Union has demanded the immediate release of Belarusian journalist Gennady Mozheiko, currently in custody at a detention center in Minsk.
On October 2, the editor-in-chief of the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda Vladimir Sungorkin said that the journalist working for the Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus daily had been detained.
"The Russian Journalists' Union insists that the information about the detention of KP in Belarus' journalist Gennady Mozheiko must be made public at once and his colleagues and relatives must have a chance to make sure his life and health are not in danger. Mozheiko's lawyers must be given corresponding explanations regarding his detention. The journalists' detention and total silence by the law enforcement agencies in charge can be considered in no way other than pressure on the media and a threat to the journalist. The Russian Journalists' Union insists on Gennady Mozheiko's immediate release," the Union's statement runs.
The Union says that Mozheiko has been accused of "inciting racial, ethnic religious or other social hatred or discord" and also of "insulting a representative of the authorities."
Gennady Mozheiko, a journalist of the Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus daily, was detained on October 1 and is now kept at a detention center in Minsk, the daily quoted his mother as saying. On October 1, her son's apartment was searched for two and a half hours by operatives from the KGB state security committee. The search warrant mentioned two articles of the Criminal Code: 130 and 369 on inciting racial, ethnic, religious or other social hostility or discord and insulting a representative of the authorities.
The head of the Russian Journalists' Union, Vladimir Solovyov, told TASS earlier that Mozheiko was the author of an article about a resident of Minsk, Andrei Zeltser, who had been killed in a fire exchange with police. Zeltser shot a Belarusian KGB officer. Solovyov said the article contained reminiscences of a woman who had studied with Zeltser in the same class at school.
The Belarusian KGB said its officer suffered a lethal wound during a special operation to check a number of addresses where terrorist accomplices might have been in hiding.
When the newspaper article was published, the Belarusian Ministry of Information blocked access to the daily's website. According to the ministry' commentary, the decision was made because the media resource had published content that "promoted the emergence of threats to national security."
The Kremlin has strongly disagreed with the Belarusian authorities' decision. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that such actions "run counter to the freedom of mass media".