• Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:52 pm

Chief editor of independent Belarus news agency missing after raid

  • Published at 05:00 pm August 18th, 2021
Belarus Detained Journalist Protests
Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Christophe Deloire, 2nd left, along with other activists pose with photos of detained Belarus journalists to protest against the arbitrary detention journalists, at the Lithuanian-Belarus border in Salcininkai, Lithuania on May 27, 2021 AFP

The journalists association in Belarus has said at least 30 Belarusian journalists are currently in jail

The chief editor of one of Belarus' leading independent news organizations has gone missing after police searched her home overnight, the country's reporters' association said on Wednesday, as authorities pursue a crackdown on dissent.

Online news agency BelaPAN had been unable to contact either Irina Levshyna or one of its reporters, Zakhar Shcherbakov, the association said. Shcherbakov's home and that of a third BelaPAN reporter were also searched, it said.

Belarus security officials were unavailable for comment and Reuters could not immediately speak to BelaPAN.

Authorities have waged a campaign of repression against non-state media, human right groups and leaders of protests against the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko since last August, when he was re-elected in a ballot that the opposition and western observers say was rigged.

The journalists association has said at least 30 Belarusian journalists are in jail and that police are conducting about 50 separate criminal investigations against members of the media.

Security forces have stepped up their crackdown in recent weeks, with police carrying out a series of raids in July against activists, journalists and NGOs, accusing them of organising riots and protests.

This month, Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was forced to defect while competing at the Olympic Games following a dispute with her coaches in which she said an order came from "high up" to send her home from Tokyo, prompting a barrage of new Western sanctions.

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