Members of Belarussian Association of Journalists searched
In Minsk on the morning of February 16, the security officers searched residences of members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), as BAJ reported on its website.
Among others, the security officers came to the apartments of the head of BAJ Andriy Bastunets, BAJ press secretary Borys Horetsky and the organization's lawyer Oleh Aheyev.
According to Andriy Bastunets' wife Sabina Brylo, he was detained by police officers of the Minsk City Executive Committee and taken to the BAJ office.
"They introduced themselves like that. The apartment is not to be searched., but Bastunets is to be deyained, as the search will be conducted at the BAJ office. The police are polite and urge not to worry, ” Bastunets’s wife said.
She does not know why the BAJ office will be searched. The police say that they will produce all the necessary papers when the time comes.
Goretsky and Ageyev could not be reached, Goretsky's phone is on, Ageyev is not.
BAJ is a Belarusian non-governmental public organization. It unites citizens who are engaged in professional journalistic activity or promote its development. Established in 1995, in 2006 it was re-registered. The association defends the rights of journalists and the principles of free and professional journalism.
Searches are also being conducted on journalists and human rights activists in several Belarusian cities and towns.
According to the Viasna human rights center, in the morning of February 16, the riot police officers came to the house of freelance journalist Larysa Shchyrakova in Homel. She is being searched within the criminal case under Art. 362 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (murder of a police officer). Another Homel journalist, Anatoliy Gotovchyts, is also being searched.
Searches are also being conducted against members of the Mogilev branch of Viasna, Oleksiy Kolchyn and Borys Bukhel, and Mogilev journalist Oles Burakov Jr.
In addition, searches are being conducted at the heads of the Mozyr and Svetlogorsk branches of Viasna, Volodymyr Telepun and Olena Maslyukova.
The coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders Against the Death Penalty" Andriy Poluda was also searched. His phone is switched off.
"We will post all the information on our departmental resources, and while we are working with this information," said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova.