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  • State media announces seizure of independent journalist’s apartment as “sanctions compensation”

    The apart­ment of Vit­seb­sk free­lance jour­nal­ist Dzmit­ry Kaza­ke­vich will be con­fis­cat­ed for the ben­e­fit of the state and sold as “com­pen­sa­tion for dam­age caused by sanc­tions”. This was claimed by pro­pa­gan­dist Ihar Tur in a May 20 pro­gram on state-run All-Nation­al TV.

    Зміцер Казакевіч незалежны журналіст

    Emer­gency response group breaks into the apart­ment of jour­nal­ist Dzmit­ry Kaza­ke­vich. Video screen­shot

    In the pro­gram To Be Updat­ed on the All-Nation­al TV chan­nel, a state pro­pa­gan­dist stat­ed that calls for sanc­tions are an eco­nom­ic crime. The con­se­quence should be eco­nom­ic pun­ish­ment. These words were accom­pa­nied by footage of law enforce­ment offi­cers enter­ing the homes of peo­ple who were forced to leave Belarus after the repres­sion for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2020 protests.

    As evi­denced by the video footage, the apart­ment of the jour­nal­ist Dzmit­ry Kaza­ke­vich in Vit­seb­sk was not only sealed and seized on May 16. It was also searched. Fur­ther­more, a video­tape was made of the emer­gency response group break­ing the met­al door to the journalist’s pri­vate home. The law enforce­ment offi­cials hand­ed over the footage to the ANTV chan­nel.

    The program’s host, Ihar Tur, pro­vides a detailed expla­na­tion of the apart­ment sale and the com­pen­sa­tion for the dam­age caused by sanc­tions imposed by West­ern coun­tries against Belarus. Despite the state pro­pa­gan­da claim­ing that the eco­nom­ic sanc­tions have not dam­aged the country’s econ­o­my, the sale of the apart­ment is a clear indi­ca­tion that the sanc­tions have had an impact.

    BAJ deputy chairman’s home searched in Belarus

    The view­ers are not informed as to whether such a legal mech­a­nism exists or what acts reg­u­late it. How­ev­er, the pro­pa­gan­dist makes a threat: “The apart­ment will be sold, and if rel­a­tives of the own­ers who live abroad are reg­is­tered there or live there, they will have to find anoth­er accom­mo­da­tion.”

    He cites the case of Dzmit­ry Kazakevich’s moth­er as an exam­ple. It appears sac­ri­le­gious giv­en that a year has passed since her death. The host gives a “humane” reas­sur­ance to the deceased and those who may find them­selves in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion. For instance, if there is no place to live, “the local author­i­ties will pro­vide sup­port with­in rea­son­able lim­its.”

    The video indi­cates that Dzmit­ry Kaza­kievich is one of 104 indi­vid­u­als who are the sub­ject of an inves­ti­ga­tion for their involve­ment in this year’s Free­dom Day cel­e­bra­tions abroad.

    Law enforce­ment offi­cers’ footage from Dzmit­ry Kazakevich’s apart­ment fol­low­ing the raid. Video screen­shot

    Dzmit­ry Kaza­ke­vich insists that he was not a par­tic­i­pant at the demon­stra­tion, but was there on pro­fes­sion­al busi­ness.

    Ihar Tur asserts that the cel­e­bra­tion of the found­ing of the Belaru­sian People’s Repub­lic is direct­ly relat­ed to the calls for sanc­tions. He there­fore con­cludes that the sale of the prop­er­ty of the par­tic­i­pants of the cel­e­bra­tion is jus­ti­fied. The spin doc­tor argues that any “fugi­tive” who wants to avoid the con­fis­ca­tion of prop­er­ty and sell it them­selves should first “return to Belarus and serve the sen­tence.” It is note­wor­thy that, by the recent amend­ments to the Belaru­sian leg­is­la­tion, only the own­er is enti­tled to sell an apart­ment or a house and should appear in per­son to con­clude the deal.

    Tur fur­ther asserts that Belaru­sians “with a destruc­tive ori­en­ta­tion” can be eas­i­ly iden­ti­fied from “secret doc­u­ments” cir­cu­lat­ed by diplo­mat­ic mis­sions. This infor­ma­tion is derived from “infor­mants” in Belaru­sian com­mu­ni­ties abroad and in the state struc­tures of coun­tries where Belaru­sian forced emi­grants are based.

    A frag­ment of Siarhei Kabakovich’s speech is also used in the pro­gram. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee of the Repub­lic of Belarus said that more than a hun­dred par­tic­i­pants of the March 25 cel­e­bra­tion of Free­dom Day have been iden­ti­fied. Accord­ing to him, “This list is being updat­ed.”

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