Another criminal case brought against Charter'97?
A journalist of charter97.org website Natallia Radzina was told about that by the head of the investigation department of the Minsk City Procuracy Siarhei Ivanou.
Ivanou told that the new criminal case had been initiated on the grounds of information found in the computers confiscated from Natallia Radzina, the journalist of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, wife of the presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau Iryna Khalip, and the journalists of Narodnaya Volia” Sviatlana Kalinkina and Maryna Koktysh.
The representative of the prosecutor’s office refused to tell on charged related to which article the criminal case had been initiated. He only noted that in the nearest future one more (the third!) expert examination of the office equipment seized from the journalist is to be held.
The investigator didn’t tell in which status the journalists would be in the new criminal case. ‘We shall qualify you as witnesses if necessary’, he added.
‘It looks as if the Belarusian authorities have decided to set a record. It is the third criminal case against us this year. It is symptomatic for the foreign countries, it demonstrates a crackdown on independent journalists in the run-up to the presidential election in Belarus. The aim is clear – an attempt to intimidate us, make us keep silent, and certainly find one more pretext not to give back the office equipment which was seized 10 month ago. But these vain attempts are ridiculous. We are working and we shall continue our work, no matter how they will try to get in our way. And we would like to advise workers of the prosecutor’s office not to persecute dissent. Then they won’t have to follow the latest Lukashenka’s aphorism: ‘When you see a slit –run for it!’ Natallia Radzina comments.
The Belarusian journalists Natallia Radzina, Iryna Khalip, Sviatlana Kalinkina and Maryna Koktysh are persecuted in the framework of the criminal case opened on alleged fact of defamation in the mass media against a former head of the Homel Region KGB Department Ivan Korzh.
On 16 March offices and apartments of the journalists were searched and their computers were seized. The greatest number of computers, 8, was seized from charter97.org office. Other journalists were confiscated PCs both from offices and private apartments. Plainclothed policemen tried to enter the apartment rented by Natallia Radzina without showing a warrant. The journalist was hit in her face. Radzina’s appeal against the unlawful actions of the policemen was dismissed.