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  • Minsk: Police search journo Raman Vasyukovich’s place over ‘extremist’ book

    On Tuesday, security forces raided the flat of Current Time reporter Raman Vasyukoich. The search warramt was issued by the prosecutor’s office as part of the investigation into a case under Art. 130 (‘Incitement to racial, national, religious or social hatred’) of the Criminal Code.

    The search was car­ried out by offi­cers of Min­sk Air Trans­port Inter­nal Affairs Direc­torate; they were look­ing for ‘extrem­ist lit­er­a­ture and sym­bols’, but noth­ing ques­tion­able was found or seized.

    The unex­pect­ed vis­it is appar­ent­ly linked to the inci­dent that hap­pened in Decem­ber. Then Raman Vasyukovich who had a copy of Belaru­sian Don­bas, the book by Bel­sat TV jour­nal­ists Kat­syary­na Andreye­va and Ihar Ilyash on him was detained at Min­sk Air­port; the book was tak­en away and nev­er returned. A pro­to­col was drawn upon the media work­er for ‘dis­tri­b­u­tion or trans­porta­tion of extrem­ist items’, although the book had not been not declared ‘extrem­ist’ at that moment.

    On March 26, Kas­trych­nit­s­ki dis­trict of Min­sk ruled that Belaru­sian Don­bas would be con­sid­ered extrem­ist in the ter­ri­to­ry of Belarus. The work is noth­ing but a jour­nal­is­tic inves­ti­ga­tion about Belaru­sians at war, the role of spe­cial ser­vices and per­son­al­ly Alyak­san­dr Lukashen­ka, as well as how this con­flict affect­ed Belarus, the authors say.

    Under the Belaru­sian law, the dis­tri­b­u­tion of ‘extrem­ist’ works is pro­hib­it­ed in the coun­try; the access to the web­sites on which they were post­ed must also be blocked. At that, the con­tent of infor­ma­tion prod­ucts includ­ed in the repub­li­can list of extrem­ist mate­ri­als is not sub­ject to announce­ment. If found dur­ing search­es, the pub­li­ca­tions deemed extrem­ist may be con­fis­cat­ed and sub­se­quent­ly destroyed.

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