Journalists targeted in raids on Friday, arrests reported

16.07.2021 Source: By Anastasija Losič, BelaPAN

Multiple journalists and prominent news organizations were targeted in raids on Friday as the government’s crackdown on the independent media showed no signs of abating.

Searches were conducted at the homes of journalists cooperating with Polish-headquartered Belsat TV, namely Jaŭhien Mierkis, Hlieb Labadzienka, Halina Abakunčyk, Ihar Iĺjaš, Paviel Mažejka, Aliaksiej Kajrys, Aliaksandr Sajenka, Chryscina Čarniaŭskaja, Alieś Liaŭčuk, Milana Charytonava, Viktar Jarašuk, Andrej Jakimuš, Liuboŭ Luniova, and Hanna Haliota. Ms. Haliota was reportedly arrested as a suspect in a mass disorder case.

The homes of Valiancin Ždanko and Alieh Hruzdzilovič, journalists with the Belarusian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Inesa Studzinskaja, a former RFE/RL journalist, were also searched. Mr. Hruzdzilovič and Ms. Studzinskaja were reported arrested.

Masked plainclothesmen raided the Minsk office of RFE/RL’s Belarusian service, breaking down its door and taking away computers.

Journalist Maryna Arcybašava also had her home searched.

In addition, NGO activists continued to be targeted in raids on Friday. In particular, searches were conducted at the homes of Maryna Dubina, director of an environmental group called Ecodom, and of Halina Uscinava, a member of the board of Pravavaja Inicyjatyva (Legal Initiative), a human rights group.