Fact Check: The Latvian Post Does NOT Illegally Read The Letters Of Belarusians Who Have Fled Belarus

Фактчек

  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: The Latvian Post Does NOT Illegally Read The Letters Of Belarusians Who Have Fled Belarus Denied

Does the Latvian postal service illegally open parcels and read the mail of Belarusians who have fled Belarus to search for money and "useful information"? No, that's not true: The Latvian postal service told Lead Stories it checks all mail on a random basis and in cases of suspicion, especially in situations where there are visible signs of content subject to EU sanctions, such as SIM cards, money, and similar items, going to Russia or Belarus. Lead Stories has found no evidence of illegal activity on the part of the postal service.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published by the TikTok account @sotniktiktok on December 26, 2023, with a caption, translated into English from Russian by Lead Stories staff, that reads:

The Latvian postal service illegally reads the letters of 'Belarusians.' A representative of the Latvian postal service stated that, in the interest of national security, letters and parcels from 'Belarusians' who have fled Belarus are being opened to search for money, bank SIM cards, chips, and 'useful information.' D-Democracy.

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-01-04 at 11.52.22.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Jan 4 11:53:31 2023 UTC)

The claim of illegality appeared in an article (archived here) published by Latvian media outlet Delfi on December 20, 2023. The article reported that shipments to Russia and Belarus may be opened for inspection at the post office, and it cited a Facebook post (archived here) by Anzhey Dmuchowski, a resident of Riga, as an example, who wondered whether this was legal. In the post, Dmuchowski expressed outrage that his letter was opened and claimed the act by Latvia Post violated Article 96 of the Latvian Constitution (archived here), which guarantees the inviolability of private correspondence.

Some Russian and Belarusian media outlets shared the claim here, (archived here), and here (archived here), emphasizing that such practices by the Latvian postal service contradict the Latvian Constitution and amount to an illegal search.

The Delfi article did not allege that the Latvian postal service illegally read the letters of Belarusians who fled Belarus and it reported the following comments, translated by Lead Stories, from Latvian Post communication specialist Matīss Rutks, who explained:

Latvijas Pasts (Latvia Post) treats each entrusted shipment with the utmost responsibility to deliver it from point A to point B, adhering to the requirements of the Sanctions Law of the Republic of Latvia. This means that our team ensures that all international shipments to Belarus and Russia do not contain sanctioned goods or items, such as money, payment cards, microchips, SIM cards. Shipments containing items or goods subject to restrictions imposed by the European Union sanctions will be detained.

In response to questions from Lead Stories about the legality of its work, the Latvia Post representative Matīss Rutks wrote in an email on December 28, 2023, that claims it violated Article 96 of the Latvian Constitution were not accurate, and such claims, he said, disregarded the fact that a Sanctions Law (archived here) and European Council regulations (archived here) applied to transactions between EU states and Russia and Belarus. In his email, translated into English from Latvian by Lead Stories staff, he wrote:

The entry of a person on Facebook social media platform with reference to the Constitution is not accurate, as legal documents such as the Sanctions Law and regulations of the Council of Europe are disregarded. These documents impose obligations on companies, including Latvijas Pasts, to take specific actions to prevent the circulation of sanctioned goods in international shipments. The company operates in accordance with regulations that protect the rights of others, democratic state institutions, public safety, welfare, and morality.

On the official EU Council website, in the section titled "EU sanctions against Russia explained," it is stated:

The EU has also prohibited the sale, supply, transfer and export of euro-denominated banknotes to Russia. The aim is to limit access to cash in euros by the Russian government, its Central Bank and natural or legal persons in Russia with a view to preventing the circumvention of sanctions.

Similar sanctions apply to Belarus.

Furthermore, Matīss Rutks, specified that these measures do not apply only to Belarusian citizens who fled Belarus. He added in a subsequent email on January 2, 2024, translated also from Latvian to English by Lead Stories staff:

These measures do not only apply to Belarusian citizens who leave Belarus to seek better life opportunities elsewhere. This is a completely false statement, because Latvijas Pasts checks shipments on a random basis, especially in situations where there are visible signs of content subject to sanctions, such as SIM cards, money, and similar items. Primarily, we carry out a visual inspection, but additional inspection takes place only in case of suspicion. The described practice applies to absolutely all shipments with Belarus and Russia. Latvijas Pasts not only adheres to high-quality standards in its work but also follows all national regulatory documents, European Council regulations, and the duties outlined in the Postal Law.

Lead Stories found no credible reports that the Latvian postal service illegally reads the letters of Belarusians who have fled Belarus. No such information was found on Latvian Post's official website, or when searching for "letters of Belarusians" site:pasts.lv (archived here).

A search for the phrases "Latvian post illegally reads the letters of Belarusians" (archived here) and "Latvian post: in the interest of national security, letters and parcels from Belarusians who have fled Belarus are being opened", as claimed in the TikTok, (archived here), conducted on January 8, 2023, using Google News' index of credible news sites did not yield any evidence-based reports on these claims.


  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

Узнайте больше или свяжитесь с нами Lead Stories Staff

О нас

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories — это веб-сайт, специализирующийся на проверке фактов. Мы занимаемся поиском актуальных историй: недостоверных, вводящих в заблуждение, содержащих неточности и ставших вирусными в интернете.
Заметили что-то интересное? Сообщите нам!.

Lead Stories это:


Самое читаемое

Последнее

Поделитесь своим мнением