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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Photojournalists detained and searched by soldiers. They make complaints about military actions

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Two of the three photojournalists arrested and searched by soldiers near the border with Belarus, but outside the state of emergency, filed complaints about these actions, reported the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, which was involved in the case. In the complaints, it was alleged that these activities had been carried out “without justification, without any legal basis, in a demeaning and degrading manner to photojournalists” and “constituted a form of repression”.

Three photojournalists were detained on November 16 by soldiers near the village of Wiejki, near the border with Belarus, but not in the state of emergency. They were Maciej Moskwa, Martin Divisek and Maciej Nabrdalik. The military was supposed to check the photos with the photographers’ cameras, even though it was against the law and the soldiers were to be aware of it. He confirms this version recording recorded by one of the photojournalists.


The Ministry of National Defense claims that the photojournalists did not introduce themselves before taking the pictures and did not inform the military about it. Such a version is not confirmed in the recording, where you can hear journalists talking to the guards even before they started work.

Record of the detention of photojournalistsTVN24

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Complaints about the detention and search of two journalists at the border

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was involved in the case. It said on Thursday that two of these journalists – Maciej Nabrdalik and Maciej Moskwa – “filed complaints about the detention and search” on Tuesday. “At the request of the HFHR, the case is being conducted pro bono by attorney Paweł Murawski and attorney Kamila Marciniak from the Pietrzak Sidor & Wspólnicy law firm” – it was reported.

As we read in the Foundation’s announcement, “the complaints indicated that the arrest and the search had been carried out without justification, without any legal basis, in a way that demeaned and degrading photojournalists, constituted a form of repression related to the journalistic work of the detained”. “Moreover, the soldiers were not authorized to carry out such activities, they acted very aggressively, using coercive measures in a completely inadequate and disproportionate manner, in order to humiliate and intimidate journalists” – added.

Detention of photojournalists at the border. “Triggering a freezing effect”

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights informed that “the complaints also alleged violation of journalistic and correspondence secrecy”.

“Apart from the photographic materials, which were kept secret, the soldiers also read the contents of the messages received on the journalists’ telephones and the numbers of persons contacting during the detention” – it was explained.

The HFHR communiqué added that “the circumstances of the incident, including the recorded statements of officers, clearly indicate that the purpose of these actions was to cause fear and discourage detainees from continuing their work as photojournalists, as well as creating a chilling effect among other journalists documenting the events in the area at the Polish-Belarusian border and the actions of public officials, including soldiers.

HFHR: Journalists are tightly handcuffed

The Foundation also reports that “during the arrest, journalists remained tightly handcuffed until the police arrived, for about an hour.”

“At that time, the soldiers, among other things, searched the car and reviewed the contents of the memory cards of journalists’ cameras, despite the fact that photojournalists warned that they contained materials covered by journalistic confidentiality” – we read.

The photojournalists were handcuffed TVN24

Main photo source: TVN24

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