If the arrest of Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist Hienadź Mažejka is related to his professional activities, “undoubtedly, such actions cannot be approved of,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Monday.
“We do not have any additional information about where the arrest of the journalist took place. We simply do not know this,” Mr. Peskov said, commenting on allegations that Mr. Mažejka might have been arrested in Moscow.
“We do not know for certain where he was arrested, by whom and what he is accused of,” Mr. Peskov was quoted as saying by the news agency TASS. “We are not sure that he was arrested in the territory of the Russian Federation, we simply do not have this information.”
Mr. Peskov drew “particular attention” to the fact that Mr. Mažejka is a citizen of Belarus. “So, of course, de jure, we have no opportunity to make any inquiries through our diplomatic mission, let alone to defend [his] interests,” he added.
Asked if Mr. Putin knew about Mr. Mažejka’s arrest, Mr. Peskov replied that the Russian president received digests “containing all widely publicized information.”
According to Mr. Peskov, the Kremlin expects that access will be restored to the website of the Belarus version of Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“So far we cannot say that there is a feeling that we have been heard, since Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus is still blocked. But we will continue to work with the Belarusian side,” Mr. Peskov said.
He pointed out that the Kremlin had earlier made clear its stance on the block.
“We do not agree with it and expect that these restrictions will be removed and that our respectable publication will be able to freely operate in the territory of Belarus, our ally,” he said.
“Unlike many other situations, we have partnership relations with Belarus and there is an opportunity to use the close dialogue between our countries to substantively communicate our disapproval of such restrictions in relation to our media outlet. This is what we will do,” Mr. Peskov noted.
On October 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that Mr. Mažejka had been arrested and placed in the detention center on Akrescina Street in Minsk.
Mr. Mažejka is the author of an interview with a former classmate of Andrej Zieĺcer, a Minsk man who was killed by officers of the Committee for State Security (KGB) during a raid on his apartment on September 28.
Mr. Zieĺcer, a 31-year-old IT worker, is believed to have fatally wounded a KGB officer before being shot dead inside his apartment.
In the interview, which was posted on the night of September 28, a woman who went to school together with Mr. Zieĺcer described him as a good person who “always stood up for truth.”
On the morning of September 29, the website of the Belarus version of Komsomolskaya Pravda stopped being accessible to users by order of the Belarusian information ministry.