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Belsat Office Searched in Minsk

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Belsat Office Searched in Minsk

The search takes place as part of a criminal investigation under article "Slander".

It became known that police arrived at the office of Belsat TV channel in Minsk to conduct a search, the press service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) informs.

The order of the Investigative Committee is received.

Employees of the Emergency Situations Ministry tried to break into the office of Belsat in Minsk, Belsat TV channel informs. According to the journalist, they had an angle grinder they wanted to use to open the door, but left quickly.

Now there is the car with the policemen in plain clothes in the yard. In the morning, two policemen came to the office.

Phones of Minsk coordinators of Belsat do not answer.

The entrance to the house, where the editorial office of Belsat is located, is blocked by the police.

Apart from the channel's correspondents, BAJ spokeswoman Barys Haretski and correspondent of Radio Svaboda Aliaksandra Dynko are also at the scene.

According to Aliaksei Minchonok, an employee of Belsat in Belarus, the search takes place within the framework of the investigation under Article 188 of the Criminal Code - "Slander".

- There is little information, but I know that it’s connected with one of our news about medical practitioners.

According to Belsat journalist Ales Zaleuski, the search may be linked to the criminal slander case, currently investigated by the Investigative Committee.

In the summer, Zaleuski shot a video about corruption in the Ministry of Health. It was reported about the detention of the head of the state-owned company Medtechnocentr, Aleh Shved.

However, the text version did not correspond to the video. The text informed that not only Aleh Shved, but also his brother Andrei, head of the State Committee of Forensic Examinations, was detained.

- As soon as it was mentioned, the retraction was published. But Andrei Shved filed a complaint in the name of Shunevich and asked to hold me liable under two criminal articles – slander and defamation of state bodies.

According to Zaleuski, he was then subjected to an intense inspection of the tax authorities. In November, the Investigative Committee decided that there was no reason to open a criminal case. However, this January, the Minsk Prosecutor's Office itself initiated a criminal case for slander, Zaleuski adds.

- The case is returned to the Investigative Committee. Criminal proceedings have been reopened. Now we perform as witnesses this time. Interrogation for camera was carried out.

According to the journalist, investigators are now looking for a person who has posted the text under the video.

- They prepare corresponding requests to Warsaw. The case may be opened for several months.

According to Zaleuski, no other criminal cases against the channel or its employees have been opened.

Witnesses are Zaleuski himself, cameraman Aliaksandr Lyubianchuk, representatives of TV channel Aliaksei Minchenok and Iryna Slaunikava.

Journalist of Radio Svaboda Franak Viachorka shared his opinion on the Telegram-channel that the search might relate to events in Kurapaty, or to the new concept of information security, the independent media simply fell behind.

An official representative of the Investigative Committee, Siarhei Kabakovich, confirmed that the search was carried out as part of the investigation under Article 188 of the Criminal Code - "Slander".

Yury Zisser called the search in the Belsat office another attempt to intimidate independent media, a senseless one.

- They will report to their superiors on the implementation of the plan of preparation for the elections," the founder of tut.by wrote on Facebook. - I wonder if all offices of independent media are searched before the elections, or whether some can escape it. I wonder what they are looking for.

The head of the For Freedom movement, Yury Hubarevich, believes that the case of BelTA and independent Brest bloggers, demolished crosses and persecution of Kurapaty defenders, searches and detentions are links in a chain, used by the regime in its attempt to curb the situation before future election campaigns.

_ The repressive wave has been increasing. It will be harder for western friends of Lukashenka to play “everything is under control”, the politician wrote on Facebook.

The journalists are near Belsat office, which has been searched for more than 4 hours. Mikalai Dziabela, a journalist of the TV channel, is in the office. A black minibus of the Investigative Committee arrived and the confiscated equipment was loaded.

Representatives of the Investigative Committee left. Journalists managed to enter the office and it was in mess.

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