Belarus said a social media account of one of its oldest “extremist” rights organizations as the government of strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka continues its crackdown on dissent.
Crisis in Belarus
Read our current coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka steps up pressure on NGOs and independent media in a brutal crackdown on protesters and the opposition following an August 2020 election widely seen as fraudulent.
A Belarusian court in Homel, a town 300 kilometers southeast of the capital, Minsk, ruled on December 30 that the information Vyasna published on its Telegram channel was extremist.
Vyasna, which was founded in 1996, documented Lukashenka’s brutal crackdown on the opposition following the disputed August 2020 presidential election, publishing data on thousands of detentions as well as cases of torture .
Vyasna has not escaped the post-election crackdown, with seven members of the organization currently behind bars.
The December 30 decision also opens the door to legal action against the channel’s subscribers.
Over the past year, the Lukashenka government has declared that around 300 websites and online channels – the majority run by the opposition – as “extremists” as it seeks to quash any challenges to its rule. 27 years old.
Tens of thousands of Belarusian citizens took to the streets last year to demand Lukashenka’s resignation following the elections, which they say were rigged.
Earlier this month, Belarus added the Belarusian service of RFE / RL, known locally as Radio Svaboda, to its register of extremist organizations.