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New searches and seizures of property of oppositionists took place in Belarus

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May22,2024

New searches and seizures of property of oppositionists took place in Belarus

Belarusian authorities conducted searches and seizures of property more than 200 oppositionists, which was the next step in the government’s unrelenting fight against dissent, reports  Associated Press.

The crackdown on authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko began in August 2020 in response to mass protests against his disputed re-election, which the opposition and the West condemned as rigged.

More than 35 thousand people were arrested, thousands were severely beaten while in custody, dozens of independent news and human rights organizations were closed, and journalists were jailed.

About 500 thousand people, including key opposition figures, have fled the country of 9.5 million people. This year, authorities launched a campaign against Belarusians abroad, calling for tougher sanctions against Lukashenko's government.

On Tuesday, May 21, state television showed footage of armed security officers breaking down the doors to the apartments of opposition activists, searching and sealing them. One of these apartments belonged to Yana Latushko, the daughter of the former Minister of Culture of Belarus Pavel Latushko, who went over to the opposition.

The Investigative Committee of Belarus opened criminal cases against 257 activists running for seats on the exiled Coordination Council.

The Council was founded by opposition politicians in 2020 as an alternative parliament. They announced online elections for 80 council seats, scheduled for May 25-27.

The activists, most of whom have fled the country, are charged with conspiracy to seize government power, calling for sanctions and creating an extremist group. Those arrested under these articles face up to 12 years in prison.

Representative of the Investigative Committee of Belarus Sergei Kabakovich said that “inspections, searches, seizure of property and other procedural measures” are being carried out throughout the country as part of a large-scale investigation into the activities of the Coordination Council.

The opposition declared Tuesday, May 21, a day of solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus.

According to the estimates of Viasna, the oldest and The country's most prominent human rights organization, there are 1,392 political prisoners in Belarus, with new arrests occurring every day. According to human rights activists, at least five political prisoners have died behind bars.

Last week, authorities conducted searches and seizures of the property of 104 Belarusian citizens who live abroad and are outspoken critics of the government.

Prepared by: Sergey Daga

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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