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Belorussians complain their correspondence from abroad opened in post offices

08.01.2021, 12:55
Photo credit: Deutsche Welle
Photo credit: Deutsche Welle

Belarusian citizens complain that letters they receive from abroad are opened in post offices, as ZMINA reported.

Several readers of the Belarusian news portal told reporters that their relatives had received postal envelopes opened at the request of customs officers, which were sent to them from abroad.

“Before the New Year holidays, I’ve sent a postcard in an envelope to my parents from England to Grodno. They received an open letter with the stamp "opened at the request of customs" and taped with "Belpochta" (Belarussian post office). In the past, I ‘ve sent letters to Belarus as well, and they always came intact, ”  Natalia, a Belarusian living in the UK, said. 

Olga Khyzhynkova, who was recently set free after 42 days detention, also said in her Instagram that the correspondence sent from abroad was opened in her Instagram. 

Belarusian authorities have been reading the correspondence of their citizens for several years. According to the country's customs code, postmen are obliged to provide all international postal items for inspection on behalf of the recipient, namely letters containing goods attachments and parcels. Belarusian customs officers inspect the correspondence with the help of an X-ray machine or manually: the letters are opened at the request of the customs inspector and in the presence of two postal workers. Since 2007, Belarusians have also had to pay more than 2,000 Belarusian rubles for opening mail. 

But the right to secrecy of correspondence, telephone conversations, telegraph and other correspondence is a personal, non-property human right, which is enshrined, in particular, in Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

It will be recalled that protests rally against the government of self-proclaimed President Alexander Lukashenko have been occurred in Belarus since August last year. According to human rights activists, about 30,000 people have already suffered from repressions. Also, at least six protesters, according to the UN, went missing. Since the beginning of the protests, the authorities have accused a number of European countries, including Ukraine, of organizing them. 

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