Belarusian police have searched the homes and offices of independent journalists. Among them – the office of “Radio Liberty” in Minsk.
Witnesses say that during another attack on the media, police broke down a door at Radio Liberty’s Minsk bureau and began a search. At the same time, 10 students and teachers accused of disturbing public order were sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison in the country. Another student was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Two days before the raid, security services raided the offices of dozens of human rights organizations. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also responded to the events, calling the actions of the Belarusian law enforcement agencies “completely unacceptable.” The Belarusian Journalists’ Association says at least 19 different raids were carried out on July 16 in the offices of journalists and their families.
Police also searched the homes of Radio Liberty correspondents Ale Hruzdzilovich and Valiantsin Zhdanko. Hruzdzilovich and another former media correspondent, whose accreditation was suspended in October, were arrested. Hruzdzilovich’s wife says he was handcuffed and taken away. They also took both of them mobile phones, computers, equipment and even money.
Another freelance RFE / RL correspondent has also been targeted by Russian forces in Crimea. A Simferopol court has indicted Vladislav Isipenko, who was arrested in March and formally charged with possession and possession of explosive devices, and faces up to 18 years in prison. According to his lawyer, testifying behind closed doors in April, Isipenko told the court that torture methods were used during his interrogation, including electric shock, beatings, death threats, and so on. If he did not “admit” that he was spying for the Ukrainian side and gathering information.