Belarusian TV host Valyaryna Kustava flees country in fear of criminal prosecution

Valyaryna Kustava, host of TV show Private

According to Belarusian poet and TV presenter Valyaryna Kustava, she left Belarus after at least two criminal cases were initiated against her. On June 16, Valyaryna said on Facebook that she was safe and secure.

On June 3, seven security officers broke into Kustava’s home. She was not at home at that time. The police also visited her parents at their workplaces. In addition, unknown people showed up at the parents’ apartment.

“All at the same time, the police and GUBAZIK came to my official workplace and those of my parents. Within a day, unknown people were rifling through my things and checked my neighbours. Until now, I do not know what exactly was confiscated: there is a suggestion that equipment, valuables, money were seized. There were unsuccessful attempts to hack my mailbox and social media profiles from my own computers. My apartment is still sealed off. And even my defence lawyer does not have access to it, as well as to my case files, because the Investigative Committee is still ‘working on’ it,” she said.

Officers of the Investigative Committee, State Control Committee, police, Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK/GUBAZiK) were hunting for her, the media worker stressed. It took Valyaryna several days to get to a safe place abroad. “I did not have a phone or any personal belongings, I was evacuated through forests and swamps,” she said.

It turned out that several criminal articles were not the worst thing that awaited me. Not only my things were confiscated from me, but my life in my Motherland as well,” the anchorwoman added.

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