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The Photos The Belarusian KGB Doesn't Want You To See

Two Belarusian photographers have been summoned to court after being accused of organizing an "extremist" photo exhibition.

Yulia Darashkevich told RFE/RL's Belarus Service on April 5 that she and her colleague Vadzim Zamirouski face trial in the western city of Ashmyany on April 17. Darashkevich said the official letter she received from the KGB says experts found that some pictures in their Press Photo Belarus 2011 exhibit were extremist and did not reflect "the real situation in Belarus." The offending photographs were not specifically identified.

The letter states that: "... Press Photo Belarus 2011 includes premeditated [and] distorted ideas about activities in the political, economic, social, and other spheres of the Republic of Belarus.... The selection of the photo album's materials in general reflects solely negative aspects of the Belarusian nation's activities...which...insult the national honor and dignity of the citizens of the Republic of Belarus.... In accordance with Article 1 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus, any activities of citizens aimed at insulting the national dignity and honor are considered as extremist."

Darashkevich says all the photographs were taken in different parts of Belarus and do not contain anything that might be considered extremist.

Belarusian border guards confiscated 42 copies of the Press Photo Belarus 2011 catalog from Darashkevich and Zamirouski in November 2012 when the two were returning from exhibitions in the European Union. Press Photo Belarus is an annual independent photo project. (24 PHOTOS)

Baptism by photographer Natallya Ablazhey
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Baptism by photographer Natallya Ablazhey

Owl chicks by photographer Natallya Ablazhey
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Owl chicks by photographer Natallya Ablazhey

Conscripts in Barysau in the Minsk region participate in the mandatory watching of the news program called "Panorama" on state-run TV. Photo by Syarhey Gudzilin
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Conscripts in Barysau in the Minsk region participate in the mandatory watching of the news program called "Panorama" on state-run TV. Photo by Syarhey Gudzilin

Workers handle the remains of German soldiers killed in World War II near the Belarusian village of Shchatkava. Photo by Vasil Fyadosenka
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Workers handle the remains of German soldiers killed in World War II near the Belarusian village of Shchatkava. Photo by Vasil Fyadosenka

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