ARTICLE 19 is appalled by the latest crackdown on TUT.BY, one of the most popular internet news outlets in Belarus. On 18 May 2021, access to the website was blocked, including via VPN. Law enforcement agents searched TUT.BY’s offices of the outlet and a criminal case has been opened against it for “tax evasion”. Additionally, a number of people related to the outlet have been detained.
At least 11 TUT.BY employees remain in detention a day after security forces searched the company’s offices and homes of its staff in a criminal investigation of suspected tax evasion. The whereabouts of many of them were unknown until late at night on 18 May.
May 18 has become a black Tuesday for the Belarusian segment of the Internet. Disturbing news from TUT.BY newsroom has been pouring in since early morning. Detentions, website blocking, a criminal case... TUT.BY office was searched until late at night, and the staff still inside were let go one by one. We will be updating you on the main news on this high-profile case throughout the day.
IMS calls international community take robust action stop abuses against journalists, media in Belarus
International Media Support (IMS) resolutely condemns the Belarusian regime’s assault on the country’s independent media TUT.BY and calls on the international community to take robust action to stop abuses against journalists, media and civil society in Belarus.
Several TUT.BY editors, including chief editor Marina Zolotova, have reported that employees of the DFR (Department of Financial Investigation) came to their apartments. Security forces also came to the offices of TUT.BY and Hoster.by. Later, it was reported that a criminal case was initiated against the officials of TUT BY MEDIA LLC on the grounds of a crime under Part 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code (evasion of taxes and fees on an especially large scale).
VIENNA, 17 May 2021 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, deplores the latest imprisonment of several journalists in Belarus.
TUT.BY journalist Lyubov Kasperovich is being examined in the Moskovsky District Court. She is accused of participating in an unsanctioned mass event. Judge Sergei Katser found the journalist guilty and sentenced her to 15 days of arrest.
As TUT.BY learned, recently our colleague Katerina Borisevich was transferred to the women’s colony in Gomel. Katerina was sentenced to six months of imprisonment in the so-called “0 ‰ of alcohol” case. The term of imprisonment expires on 19 May, that is, in two days she must be released.