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Belarus Police Conduct Raids On Journalists, Activists, Politicians


Police search the offices of the "Narodnaya volya" newspaper in Minsk on March 16.
Police search the offices of the "Narodnaya volya" newspaper in Minsk on March 16.
* Correction appended

Police in Minsk searched the offices and apartments of journalists, activists, and politicians and allegedly struck a staffer at one NGO during the course of the raids on March 16, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Opposition activists say the searches are part of ongoing political pressure on the opposition and independent media.

Computers, compact discs, and USB flash drives were confiscated from the offices of the independent newspaper "Narodnaya volya" (People's Will) and the nongovernmental organization Charter 97.

Charter 97 press secretary and web editor Natalya Radina told RFE/RL that her eye swelled up after she was hit by one of the policemen. She added that she would file a legal complaint against the officer.

Police also searched the apartment of European Belarus movement leader Andrey Sannikau and his wife, Irina Khalip, who is a correspondent for the Moscow-based "Novaya gazeta."

The apartment of Maryna Koktysh -- the deputy editor in chief of "Narodnaya volya" -- was also searched.

Police confiscated their computers, explaining that the searches were conducted as part of an investigation into a libel case filed by Homel oblast authorities.

* "Novaya gazeta," which had been identified as a weekly, is published three times a week.