Detentions and searches: Belarus authorities have independent journos in crosshairs across country

On July 8, Belarusian security forces are reported to be hunting for independent journalists throughout the country. Some Belsat TV contributors are also experiencing problems.

In Vitsebsk, they raided the apartment of freelancer Zmitser Kazakevich. The three-hour search was carried out as part of a criminal case regarding defamation; Lepel-based police officer Mikhno allegedly accuses reporters of slandering. The policemen seized laptops of Kazakevich’s wife and daughter, two old system units, two cameras and a small white-red-white flag.

Minsk: Police raiding office of popular Belarusian media outlet Nasha Niva, website down

Another Vitsebsk journalist, Vital Skryl, has been detained. He is known to be a suspect under Article 369 of the Criminal Code (‘insulting a representative of authority’).

It should be noted that the police found and apprehended Hlybokaye-based journalist Zmitser Lupach in the Plisa health centre, where he was spending his holiday. Shortly before that, the officers visited his place. Lupach’s whereabouts is still unknown.

Zmitser Lupach. Photo: Belsat

In Brest, a local court imposed a fine of 580 rubles on Aleh Suprunyuk, editor of the First Region portal, for allegedly distributing ‘extremist materials’. According to the prosecution’s version, one can see a ‘swastika’ in one of the pictures published by the media outlet. In fact, the portal used a photo of political prisoner Uladzimir Hundar wearing an embroidered shirt with the Belarusian national ornament.

In Babruysk, security forces searched the home journalist Alesya Latsinskaya. After the raid, she was taken to the KGB department for interrogation.

Since early morning, Belsat TV has been getting reports about persecuting independent media from various cities and towns of Belarus.

Massive crackdown on independent media in Belarus