Family of journalists forced to leave Belarus under pressure from authorities

Journalists Ales Lyauchuk and Milana Kharytonava and their 13-year-old daughter went on vacation but could not return to Belarus. Their and their relatives’ apartments were searched. Then they learned that they had become defendants in a criminal case.

Milana Kharytonava and Ales Lyauchuk with their daughter. Photo: Belsat

Journalist Alyaksandr Lyauchuk told Belsat that they had not returned home for more than two months. When they went on vacation, they learned that a criminal case was filed against them. As a result, the family and their 13-year-old daughter were forced to stay abroad.

“But the state authorities won’t give us any peace here either,” says Alyaksandr.

On September 10th, the principal of Brest secondary school #10, Alena Staryk, called the journalist. She started accusing them of taking the child to an unknown destination, actually kidnapping her and depriving her daughter of the right to education.

“I was told that they would put us on the wanted list and include our daughter in the list of children in a socially dangerous situation, that we created problems for them, that it’s not done that way, that if we were going to leave, we should have brought all the necessary documents, warned her in advance,” says the journalist.

At the same time, before the beginning of the school year, Lyauchuk sent a letter to the school, informing them that their family temporarily could not return to Belarus.

“In fact, we were deprived of the right to return home, and my daughter — the right to study in a Belarusian school. If we returned to Belarus, we’d go straight to the detention center, because the authorities can’t forgive us for telling and showing the truth for years. What would have happened to the child in Belarus, I can’t even imagine. After they deprived us of everything, they have the nerve to accuse us of violating the right to education of our daughter and threaten us,” says Ales Lyauchuk.

The school director is a former deputy of the regional Soviet of Deputies and chair of the election commission.

The Lyauchuk family hopes their daughter will be able to continue her education in Poland.