Ales Lipai, the founder and director general of BelaPAN, the only independent news agency in Belarus, suddenly passed away on August, 23 in Minsk. He was 52 years old.
The cause of death has not been reported. According to BelaPAN, the funeral will be held on August, 26 in Rudensk.
Ales Lipai was born in 1966 in the village of Androsaushchyna (Kapyl district). Studying at the Belarusian State University, he was prosecuted for taking part in issuing a self-publish newspaper. In the late 1980s he was a member of the young writers society Tuteyshyia (Locals). In 1988, he became the first reporter of Radio Liberty in Belarus.
He was a member of the Union of Belarusian Writers and the Belarusian PEN Center. His first book of poetry, Under the Snow, was published in 2000. In 2007, The Rest was released.
In June 2018, the home of Ales Lipai was raided by the finance police. Lipai was suspected of tax evasion. After the seven-hour search, Lipai was taken for questioning and then released. Many compared the situation to the persecution of leaders of the Belarusian independent trade union movement and the case of human rights defender Ales Byalyatski.