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Belarus conducts new raids on journalists and rights activists

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko delivers a speech in Minsk, Belarus Could 26, 2021. Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus/Handout by way of REUTERS/

KYIV, July 16 (Reuters) – Belarusian police searched workplaces and houses of impartial journalists and human rights activists for the third successive day on Friday, extending what President Alexander Lukashenko’s opponents say is a brand new crackdown on dissent.

A senior legislation enforcement official was quoted by the state-run Belta information company as saying safety forces carried out the searches after receiving details about the alleged financing of protests in opposition to Lukashenko.

Native human rights teams mentioned at the least 5 individuals had been detained, and 25 properties and workplaces had been searched.

The workplace of U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was amongst these searched, the Belarus affiliation of Journalists mentioned, denouncing “an enormous assault by safety forces on journalists throughout the nation.”

On its web site, RFE/RL quoted witnesses as saying police had damaged by the door of its workplace within the capital Minsk, and mentioned the properties of two RFE/RL journalists had been searched.

Human rights organisation Viasna-96 mentioned two RFE/RL journalists have been detained. The spouse of 1, correspondent Aleh Hruzdzilovich, informed RFE/RL that he had been led away in handcuffs by police who eliminated computer systems, telephones and cash.

Belta quoted Vladimir Shyshko, an official at Belarus’s Investigative Committee which prosecutes main crimes, as saying the committee had acted on details about a “shadow motion of great monetary assets, primarily from overseas, tax evasion and financing of varied sorts of protest exercise.”

Non-governmental organisations and impartial media have beforehand dismissed such accusations.

The authorities have shut down quite a lot of media shops and rights teams since protests started final August in opposition to a presidential election which the opposition says was rigged. Lukashenko, in energy since 1994, denies electoral fraud.

On Wednesday and Thursday, safety officers performed searches in round 20 human rights, charitable, media and skilled establishments, detaining greater than 15 individuals, together with the top of Viasna-96. learn extra

The searches observe new sanctions imposed on Belarus by the European Union and america since Minsk diverted a passenger airplane flying from Greece to Lithuania and detained a dissident journalist and his girlfriend who have been on board.

PEN America and a number of other different human rights our bodies issued a press release describing the strikes this week within the former Soviet republic as “flagrant motion in opposition to civil society and impartial media”, and demanded the discharge of these detained.

Writing by Pavel Polityuk, Modifying by Timothy Heritage

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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