Authorities raid homes of sports journalists

03.09.2021 Source: BelaPAN

Maksim Bierazinski, who heads the popular sports news website and is currently staying abroad, had his Minsk apartment searched on September, 1.

As the journalist said in a Facebook post, law enforcement officers raided the apartment, where he has not lived for a year, in the framework of a criminal case opened over last year’s anti-Lukašenka protests.

The officers reportedly told the neighbors that they wanted to get inside the apartment because of an acetone smell, alleging that drugs were being made there.

Mr. Bierazinski said that the officers had broken down the apartment’s door. “They didn’t even bother to call either the owner of the apartment or people registered there,” he noted.

As a result of the search, a computer’s hard drive, some memory sticks, white and red wristbands, a magnet bearing the image of Pahonia, Belarus’ historically national coat of arms, and a baseball bat featuring the logo were seized.

According to the journalist, another journalist has also had his home searched recently.

In early August, the website, its mirror, social media accounts and the publication’s mobile app were designated extremist by a judge at the request of the interior ministry.

Access to the website was blocked in Belarus in 2020. The project’s founder Dzmitryj Navoša, a prominent Moscow-based journalist who is also the founder of the website, publicly supported the post-election protests in the country.