Belarusian authorities defend gay pornography search

  • 2006-08-02
  • By TBT staff

TOUCHY ISSUE: Latvia's Foreign Ministry said Belarus had violated an embassy official's diplomatic immunity by searching his apartment for gay pornography.

The Belarusian prosecutor's office did not violate the diplomatic immunity of a Latvian diplomat suspected of distributing gay pornography, according to Nikolai Kupriyanov, deputy chief prosecutor.

"The search at the apartment of…[Latvian diplomat[ Reimo Smits was carried out considering the fact that a Belarus national had received a pornographic DVD at this apartment," Kupriyanov said in a statement.

The prosecutor had issued a warrant for the search, he said. Smits produced his diplomatic documents during the search.
The Belarus prosecutor's office said that the officers who searched Smits' apartment neither restricted the diplomat's freedom nor violated his diplomatic immunity.

Belarusian state television on July 30 showed video footage featuring a sex act between two men, allegedly shot with a hidden camera at Smits' apartment.

Smits, the second secretary of the Latvian embassy in Belarus has been working in Minsk since October 2002.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry announced on July 31 that the incident is just "another provocation against the Latvian state and its diplomat, and a serious violation of the norms and traditions of diplomatic law."

The ministry still has not received a reply to the protest note Latvia lodged asking Belarus to provide official explanations about the raid on the diplomat's apartment in violation of the Vienna Convention.

"If the Belarus side had a reason to believe that the Latvian diplomat has committed any unlawful actions, there is a generally accepted practice recognized by international law of solving such issues. This was not done," the Foreign Ministry said.