Crackdown on social networks: interrogations, searches, arrests

2012 2012-08-31T15:01:02+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Pavel Yeutsikhiyeu, moderator of an online community detained by Minsk police yesterday, has stood trial on disorderly conduct charges and sentenced to five days of arrest.

Raman Pratasevich, another moderator of a social network community, has been reportedly beaten by the KGB agents and released without charges.

The law-enforcement agencies searched the apartment of the girl-friend of Andrei Tkachou. The activist himself was detained and later sentenced to seven days of arrest on “hooliganism” charges.

Siarhei Biaspalau managed to escape detention. His current whereabouts is unknown.

Aleh Shramuk, moderator of an online community called “We are sick of that Lukashenka”, was detained yesterday by Vitsebsk police. The activist was taken to the police department. He was questioned by the KGB agents, fingerprinted and later released without charges.

“There was no information forbidden by the law or Constitution. The persons expressed their opinions, including that on the current head of state and the government. They had every right to do so. Secondly, it is yet unknown of what legal character the detentions are. That is, why are they being detained? I fear these are illegal preventive arbitrary detentions. I think they are linked to calls for election boycott. We can see the authorities being allergic to these initiatives. However, calls for boycotting the election are not prohibited by the current legislation. Still, we can see these absolutely disproportionate measures by the authorities. The recent KGB’s special operation against social networks can be linked to boycott, too,” said Valiantsin Stefanovich, deputy chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, in his comments for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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