BelaPAN chief editor detained, more journalists remain in custody Updated
Iryna Leushyna, chief editor of the BelaPAN news agency, has been detained today, tut.by said. Her apartment has been searched and computer equipment seized.
Earlier, police detained several editors and journalists of independent media outlets tut.by and belapan.by. All of them are accused of illegal access to the paid services of the government-owned news agency BelTA. Most of them were eventually released, including tut.by editors Hanna Kaltyhina and Halina Ulasik this afternoon.
However, five journalists remain in custody. The period of detention of three of them, Maryna Zolatava, Hanna Yermachonak and Tatsiana Karaviankova, expires at 11 am tomorrow. It is expected that they will either be released or face formal charges.
The Belarusian authorities continue to be criticized for the unprecedented crackdown of independent media. The new wave of repression has been reportedly denounced by the EU’s External Action Service.
The country’s human rights organizations, including the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, sent an urgent appeal to David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, and Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, urging them to “react to the situation.”
Deutsche Welle lodged a protest with the Belarusian ambassador to Germany calling to release their reporter Pauliuk Bykouski, who is still in the detention center.
UPD. Tatsiana Karaviankova, Maryna Zolatava and Aliaksei Zhukau were released last evening. As a result, two journalists are currently in custody, Iryna Leushyna and Pauliuk Bykouski.