The Belarusian dictator does not stop the silence of the opposition: Regime agents yesterday (Wednesday) arrested Irina LaBashina, the editor-in-chief of the independent news agency BelaPAN, along with other senior members of the agency on suspicion of disturbing public order.
The Minsk Commission of Inquiry announced that a criminal investigation had been opened against Lavashina, against the agency’s accountant Ekaterina Boba, and against former director Dmitry Novozilov on suspicion of “organizing and participating in actions that violate public order.” An investigation by the tax authorities was also opened and it was reported that “violations” had been identified.
This morning it was reported that security personnel had raided the offices of the independent, largest and oldest news agency in Belarus, and as a result the website stopped operating. Searches were also carried out on the homes and offices of Lavashina, Novozhilov and Bueva, before being detained for at least 72 hours.
The deputy editor-in-chief, Alexander Zaitsev, said that his phones and electronic devices had been confiscated. The wife of journalist Zachar Shcherbakov said that after the search of their home, her husband was taken for questioning and that she had no contact with him.
The BelaPAN news agency was also the target of searches last January as part of an investigation into “organizing and participating in actions that violate public order” against journalist Andrei Alexandrov, who two months ago was accused of treason. Last month, a number of agency journalists fled the country after police resumed searches of the homes of independent media people.