Belarus Arrests 3 Journalists in Media Crackdown


Authorities in Belarus raided the offices of an independent newspaper and arrested three of its journalists on Monday as part of a relentless crackdown on media outlets and civil society activists.

Alyaksandr Mantsevich, editor of the Regionalnaya Gazeta (Regional Newspaper), and journalists Zoya Khrutskaya and Nasta Utkina, were detained, said the Belarusian Association of Journalists, or BAJ.

BAJ said that a total of 64 searches have been conducted over the last 10 days. Thirty-two journalists in total are in custody, either awaiting trial or serving their sentences.

“The authorities have turned life into hell for independent journalists in Belarus with a conveyor belt of searches and arrests,” BAJ head Andrei Bastunets said. “There is an impression that the authorities have decided to leave the country without journalists.”

On Monday, a court in Minsk also handed out prison sentences ranging from five to nine years to 11 people who were accused of coordinating “radical actions” and planning arson on a messaging app.

The Viasna human rights center recognized the 11 people sentenced on Monday as political prisoners, saying there are a total of 562 in the country now.

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