Criminal case opened against co-founder of initiative helping persecuted protesters

Alyaksei Lyavonchyk.

BY_Help co-founder Alyaksei Lyavonchyk contributed to ‘destabilising the situation in Belarus’, the Investigative Committee reported on Wednesday.

“We established the facts of transferring [money] from an account under his control in one of Western banks in order to support the protests in Belarus and provide financial assistance to those who participated in the protests,” the statement reads.

A day earlier, Lyavonchyk wrote on his Facebook that the accounts of people getting financial assistance from the BY_Help fund that keeps backing the repressed persons started to be massively blocked in Belarus.

“The decision (by the Investigative Committee) is as follows: it is necessary to seize the money that come from specific senders. Any sum obtained from them must be blocked. Banks are obliged to comply with such directives issued by law enforcement agencies,” a top bank manager who did not wish to be identified told TUT.BY.

Authorities block funds of BY_help beneficiaries

The difficulties will not affect the activity of the initiative in any way; its volunteers will continue working in the ordinary and usual course, Alyaksei promised. However, they are set to change the ways of delivering payments.

“I learned about this situation from media reports. I have not not received any [official] papers from the Investigative Committee; maybe, the reason for that is my living abroad for 12 years, I no longer have a residential address in Belarus. If they would like to, they might send the papers to my address in Poland or the UK,” the activist said.

He was not very surprised to know that the authorities brought criminal proceedings against him, Alyaksei Lyavonchyk stressed.

“There are about 1,500 cases initiated in the country, it is very strange that they did not come for me until now. But I am in a very good company,” he said.

BY_Help’s campaign collects donations for those arrested, fined, wounded and beaten by security forces after the August 9 elections. In the entire existence of the fund, more than 2,300 people have applied for help. About 1.5 million euros have been paid out.

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