Belarusian editors detained during crackdown on journalists


Kiev, Ukraine-Independent journalist and dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s crackdown on opponents detained the editor-in-chief of a popular Internet news site, one of Belarus’ largest cities, and searched his residence T.

Police said on Sunday that they were investigating Hrodna.life’s editor Aliaksei Shota on suspicion of radicalism. This publication focuses on Grodno, Belarus’ fifth largest city.

City police said the website “posted an information product officially recognized as a radicalist,” but did not provide details. According to the website, he was detained by police for several hours before he was released, and his computer’s hard drive was taken away from his home by police.

Shota is working with the country’s most popular internet portal, Tut.by, and authorities closed this month after arresting 15 employees.

The Belarusian crackdown escalated a week ago, and dissident journalist Raman Platasevic and his girlfriend were on a civilian plane that had relocated to Minsk Airport due to suspected bomb threats. I was flying over Belarus on my way from Athens, Greece to Vilinus, Lithuania.

Raman Platasevic
In this handout photo released by European Radio for Belarus, Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich is posing for the photo on November 17, 2019, in front of the sign at euroradio.fm in Minsk, Belarus. Euroradio via AP)

The move has sparked widespread criticism in the West as an act of hijacking and demanding the release of Platasevic. The European Union has banned flights from Belarus.

Pratasevich was charged with organizing a riot and could be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The day after the arrest, authorities released a short video stating that Platasevic was confessing, but observers said the statement appeared to have been forced.

Belarusian human rights group Biasna said on Sunday that Platasevic received a parcel from his sister, but an unspecified book was taken from it.

Massive protests broke out in August last year after the presidential election, which gave Lukashenko, who has consistently suppressed the opposition since he came to power in 1994, the overwhelming majority for the sixth term.

Police detained more than 30,000 people in the process of protest and lasted for several months. Protests have subsided during the winter, but authorities continue to act strongly against opposition supporters and independent journalists.

Posted on