Unprecedented raids on human rights defenders in Belarus

Source : 112 Ukraine

Police in at least 10 cities searched homes and offices of the country’s major human rights organizations and their staff, seizing documents, computers, and other devices
09:17, 15 July 2021

Open source

Massive searches in the offices of Belarus human rights organizations and in the apartments of human rights defenders took place all over the country. The law enforcers came with a search to Vladimir Labkovich, the lawyer of Viasna human rights center, and to the deputy chairman Valentin Stefanovich, DW reported.

As Stefanovich's wife Alina said, the search in their apartment was carried out by employees of the Financial Investigation Department of the State Control Committee. The search warrant contained articles on organizing rallies that grossly violate public order and tax evasion. The law enforcers seized Stefanovich’s devices, white-red-white flags, and after the search, the security forces took him away. According to preliminary data, Stefanovich was detained for 72 hours.

Related: Belarus official organizations may be involved in human trafficking, - Lithuanian MFA

An apartment of a human rights activist, Viasna employee, Sergei Sys was searched in Minsk. After that, he was detained too.

The security forces came with searches to other human rights organizations. In particular, leader of the For Freedom movement Yuriy Gubarevich and the founder of the Imena charity project Katerina Sinyuk also informed about the searches in their offices.

In addition, the apartment and offices of the coordinator of Human Rights Defenders Against the Death Penalty campaign, Andrei Poluda, director of the Lawtrend Center for Legal Transformation Olga Smolyanko, the offices of the Batskashchyna Union of Belarusians of the World, the BEROC Center for Economic Research, and Gender Perspectives human rights organization were searched as well.

The law enforcers officers searched the house of Hrodna human rights defender Viktor Sazonov, Brest human rights defender Kirill Kofanov from Human Constanta, and the editor of, Igor Kazmerchak. Kazmerchak was detained by security officials as well.

Related: EU should expand economic sanctions against Belarus, - Borrell

EU Foreign and Security Policy Officer Peter Stano said on Twitter that the Lukashenka regime is afraid of "independent voices."

Related: New Twitter account of Belarusian oppositionist Raman Pratasevich blocked

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