Novy Chas editors searched and interrogated

21.10.2021 Source: BAJ

Novy Chas newspaper employees stopped responding to messages on the morning of October 20. It later became known that journalists' homes and the editorial office were being searched.

After the searches, Siarhei Pulsha and Aksana Kolb were interrogated and released.

The Novy Chas editor-in-chief Aksana Kolb and deputy editor Siarhei Pulsha coundn't be reached from the morning of October 20. Witnesses reported that Siarhei Pulsha's house had been searched. After that, the security officers brought Siarhei to the Novy Chas editorial office.

The publication's editor-in-chief Aksana Kolb was also detained. The reason for the law-enforcement actions is unknown, as the journalists have signed a gag order. Aksana Kolb was also released after a search and interrogation.

Yesterday, October 19, the house of Novy Chas photographer Dzmitry Dzmitryjeu was searched, his computer was seized.

Novy Chas is a Belarusian general political weekly newspaper. It was founded by the Minsk city organization of the Frantsisk Skaryna Belarusian Language Society, and is the successor of the Zhoda newspaper. It has been published since March 2002.

In November 2020, photojournalists of the newspaper were detained while covering protests in Belarus. One of them, Yana Trusila, was detained twice and sentenced to a total of 28 days of administrative arrest. The photographer of the publication Dzmitry Dzmitryjeu was also detained several times. On 9 August 2020, he was violently detained while working at a polling station. Dzmitry was then detained several times in October and sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest in November after another detention.

On 5 August 2021, early in the morning, police came to Dmitry's house. The photographer was taken for questioning, the trial took place the same day. Dzmitryjeu was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest for "defiance to police."

On 12 March 2021, the journalist of the publication Dzyanis Ivashyn was arrested. Dzyanis Ivashyn is the author of a series of investigative articles "Who or What Does Berkut Protect in Belarus?"

Ivashyn is charged under Article 365 of the Criminal Code (interference in the activities of a police officer). The journalist was recognized a political prisoner.

On 14 January 2021, it became known that Beldruk (state-run publications distribution chain) terminated the contract with the editorial office to distribute the publication in its kiosks from February 1. From that day on, the newspaper was distributed only by subscription. On June 7, Belarusian Post informed the editorial office that the newspaper was excluded from the subscription catalog for the second half of the year. The editorial office sent the newspaper to the subscribers independently.