Authorities close down Belarusian PEN Centre

The Supreme Court of Belarus has ruled to liquidate the Belarusian PEN Centre.

It is the Belarusian Justice Ministry that was seeking to revoke PEN Centre’s registration in court, the organisation reports. It received a letter about the lawsuit on July 22.

The decision on the official liquidation of the Belarusian PEN Centre was made by judge Hanna Sakalouskaya; the public prosecutor’s surname is Kavalchuk; Pechkurou, a representative of the Justice Ministry, was present at the hearing.

The office of the PEN Centre was raided during another wave of reprisals in July. The search took place at a legal address where no one was physically present because the office works remotely due to the pandemic.

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The Belarusian PEN Centre is an association of professional writers (the name comes from the trio ‘poets, essayists and novelists’) founded in 1989. It organises a long series of literary prizes and festivals, a residence for young writers in Vilnius, a translation workshop, and a creative writing school. It is a member of the International PEN Club. It is chaired by prominent Belarusian writer and Nobel Prize holder Svetlana Alexievich; deputy head is poet Tatsyana Nyadbai.

Its members are Uladzimir Arlou, Natallya Babina, Alherd Bakharevich, Ales Byalyatski, Lyavon Volski, Adam Hlobus, Syarhei Dubavets, Maksim Zhbankou, Andrey Kureichyk, Maryia Martysevich, Viktar Martsinovich, Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu, Alyaksandr Fyaduta, Andrey Khadanovich, and many other writers and people of different professions associated with literature.

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