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Belarusian Newspaper Editor Questioned For Spreading 'False Information'

BYALYNICHI, Belarus -- The chief editor of an independent newspaper in the eastern Belarusian town of Byalynichi has been accused of spreading false information, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Barys Vyrvich, the chief editor of the "Pakhodnya" (Torch) newspaper, told RFE/RL that police officer Alyaksandr Rusetsky came to his home today and questioned him.

Vyrvich said local officials have accused him of publishing false information about the economic situation in the region and contacted the police.

In November, Vyrvich printed an article in "Pakhodnya" about the inability of local companies to pay their employees' salaries. The policeman asked Vyrvich which sources he used for the article.

Vyrvich told Rusetsky he had spoken to many local people and gave names for the police to verify his claims. Rusetsky did not tell Vyrvich what steps would be taken.

The editor told RFE/RL that he expects more pressure to come as he believes local authorities are trying to shut his newspaper down.