Ales Bialiatski: Authorities are trying to beat journalists and human rights activists out of the electoral process
The head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" commented on the recent facts of the persecution of journalists and human rights defenders in Mahiliou at his public Facebook page.
"March 12, the office of the editorial board of the newspaper “Nash Mahiliou” and the local branch of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” was searched. On Tuesday, March 17, the trial on the liquidation of the Mahiliou Human Rights Centre was held at the Mahiliou Regional Court.
These events are evidently linked. The claims of the authorities to independent journalists and human rights activists have now begun to take shape of prosecution aimed at intimidating, suppressing the journalist activities and depriving the only registered regional human rights organization of legal rights to work.
This is a planned action. The persecution of human rights defenders and journalists becomes permanent. Recently, a human rights activist Elena Tonkacheva has been expelled from the country, trials against journalists working for independent media continue in the regions. This is the way the authorities are getting ready for the elections. They are trying to beat journalists and human rights activists out of the electoral process so that people and the international community would receive as little information as possible about the abuses during the elections and their overall progress,” commented Mr. Bialiatski.
Let us remind that on March 12 the police examined the apartment of Ihar Barysau, the editor of the website “Nash Mahiliou” and the building in which the editorial board of “Nash Mahiliou” and the regional branch of the HRC “Viasna” were situated. These actions were carried out within an inspection of an appeal on defamation. As a result, the computer equipment of the journalist and the human rights activists was seized. The Main Justice Department of the Mahiliou District Executive Committee started another attempt to stop the activities of the Mahiliou Human Rights Centre, previously having put obstacles to the organization.