Concern voiced at the latest attack on freedom of speech in Belarus

On Tuesday, the offices of human rights organisations and apartments of journalists across Belarus were raided by state security officials in what appears to be a coordinated crackdown on civil society. This situation is still developing. Raids and searches took place on Tuesday morning at the offices of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Viasna human rights centre, the apartments of staff at the Belarusian Human Rights House, the Minsk office of the REP trade union, and the homes of journalists across the country including freelancer Larisa Shchyrakova and Homiel journalist, Anatoly Gotovchits.

In response to these raids, Maryia Sadouskaya-Komlach, a Belarusian journalist and Program Coordinator at Free Press Unlimited, says "Arresting and searching the houses and offices of independent journalists this morning have demonstrated once again that the authorities are trying to do their "homework" after the August 2020 presidential election and subsequent protests.

Several NGOs were spared of closing down pre-election to keep up appearances, including BAJ which is the most authoritative and respected journalism association in Belarus. Now the authorities are making up charges, such as financing the protests, to paralyse these NGOs' activities."

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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