3 journalists arrested in search of an independent newspaper in Belarus

According to the association, the searches took place in the offices of Regionalnaya Gazeta in Maladzyechna, 80 kilometers from the capital, Minsk, and editor-in-chief Alyaksandr Mantsevich and journalists Zoya Khrutskaya and Nasta Utkina were arrested.

“With this series of searches and arrests, the authorities have turned the lives of independent journalists in Belarus into hell,” said Andrei Bastunets, one of the association’s officials, recalling that over the past ten days 32 journalists were arrested and 64 searches were carried out in the media outlets.

The Associated Press news agency reports that the bank accounts of the Pen Center writers’ association, headed by 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, were also frozen today.

A court in Minsk also today sentenced 11 people to prison terms ranging from five to nine years, accused of organizing “radical actions” and planning a fire through a messaging app.

One of them, a 26-year-old man sentenced to eight years, told the court that during the investigation he was tortured and forced to confess.

The official results reinstated President Alexander Lukashenko for a sixth term, with 80% of the vote.

The opposition viewed the control as fraudulent, as many Western countries did, and an unprecedented wave of opposition broke out in this former Soviet republic.

Refusing any concessions, the Belarusian head of state, in power for nearly 27 years, arrested or forced into exile most of his opponents and denounced the demonstrations led by the West to overthrow him.

The violent repression of the protest movement left several dead and several hundred people arrested.

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