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RFE/RL raided as Belarusian police search offices and homes of journalists - RFE/RL

16.07.2021, 16:08

Security forces have raided the offices and homes of several independent journalists across Belarus, including the premises of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Minsk, as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Witnesses said the officers broke through the door at RFE/RL's Minsk bureau on July 16 as part of a sweep targeting the media.

The searches came two days after authorities raided the offices of a dozen human rights organizations and after the United Nations human rights chief said recent moves by Belarusian authorities were "completely unacceptable."

"Again a massive attack by security forces on journalists across the country," the Belarus Association of Journalists said in a statement listing 19 different searches carried out on journalists or their families on July 16.

Security officers searched the homes of RFE/RL correspondents Aleh Hruzdzilovich and Valyantsin Zhdanko.

Hruzdzilovich and former RFE/RL correspondent Ina Studzinskaya, whose accreditation was annulled in October, were detained.

Hruzdzilovich's wife told RFE/RL that her husband was taken away in handcuffs.

"His and my phones, all computers, and laptops were taken way. There were nine people. They also took all the money, even Belarusian rubles from my pocket. Also $300 that remained for me to live on," she added.

Earlier this week, Belarusian police carried out sweeping raids against human rights groups and the media, including the Vyasna human rights center and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, in a sign that authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka was further ramping up his crackdown on dissent.

At least a dozen people were detained in the July 14 raids targeting at least 19 nongovernmental organizations in Minsk and other cities.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

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