Procuracy wants to know how charter97.org functions
The first day when the decree on internet censorship came into force was marked by questioning of a well-known journalist Natallia Radzina.
Natallia Radzina, a journalist for charter97.org website, was summoned to the investigation department of the Minsk procuracy on 1 July. The questioning was carried out by the Deputy Chairperson of the investigation department of the Minsk procuracy, Viktar Feshchanka, and the Deputy Chairperson of the IT crimes department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Department K), Ihar Parmon.
Radzina was informed about the instigation of a criminal case against ‘the unidentified persons who spread deliberately false information on the Internet’, by which the readers’ comments on charter97.org to the article Hunt in a manner of 1937 were meant. The article told about the Afghan war veterans who refused to accept medals from Aliaksandr Lukashenka. The journalist was told she was a witness in the case.
Feshchanka and Parmon asked how charter97.org website worked, how it was administered, where the office was situated and where the site was registered.
‘I told them charter97.org is registered in the United States, so they should apply to Interpol to find its owners and administrators. They asked many technical questions. Maybe it was a reason why the deputy chairman of the Department K was invited. As decree on Internet censorship has come into force, persecution of the popular news site escalated. This is the forth time when I have been called in for questioning. Two criminal cases have been instigated against charter97.org, all our equipment has been confiscated. By the way, we haven’t bee given back the equipment and the procuracy didn’t punish anybody for beating me. After that, how can I trust such an agency as a procuracy, if it covers criminal actions of policemen? It’s strange to me why prosecutors and the police spend their time questioning journalists instead of investigating serious crimes,’ Natallia Radzina said after the interrogation.
According to the journalist, the authorities are trying to completely eliminate the freedom of speech in the country in the run-up to the presidential election. ‘I know that today the KGB investigation department summoned a Narodnaya Volia journalist, Maryna Koktysh, for questioning. Procuracy has also issued a warning to a RFE/RL journalist, Liubou Luniova, today. I am convinced that it is an attempt to harass my colleagues and me. They cannot break us and we will continue our activity. The authorities demonstrate their fear of free word to the whole world,’ Natallia Radzina noted.