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Well-Known Belarusian Rights Activist Remains In Detention, Faces Criminal Charge

Tatsyana Hatsura-Yavorskaya, a mother of four, is known for initiating several cultural events, including an international festival of documentaries about human rights.

MINSK -- Well-known human rights activist Tatsyana Hatsura-Yavorskaya, one of the founders of the Belarusian civil rights group Zvyano (Chain), is being held in a detention center on an unspecified charge.

Hatsura-Yavorskaya was detained on April 6 after police searched her home and office, saying that the searches were conducted as part of an investigation into "financing mass disorders."

Crisis In Belarus

Read our ongoing coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka continues his brutal crackdown on NGOs, activists, and independent media following the August 2020 presidential election, widely seen as fraudulent.

The activist's husband, Uladzimer Yavorski, told RFE/RL late on April 8 that a court in Minsk earlier in the day had fined his wife for "disobedience to police," but that they did not immediately release her afterward.

"[After the hearing] we waited for her near the detention center. But in the end, her lawyer told us that Tatsyana will remain in custody as she had a different status. She had been detained on a criminal charge. We do not know what exactly the charge is at this point," Yavorski said.

A day before Hatsura-Yavorskaya's detainment, two of her associates, Natallya Trenina and Yulia Syamenchanka, were also detained after their homes were searched.

Trenina and Syamenchanka helped Hatsura-Yavorskaya organize an exhibition in Minsk devoted to physicians assisting COVID-19 patients called The Gadget Is Breathing, But I Am Not.

Hatsura-Yavorskaya, a mother of four, is known for initiating several cultural events, including WATCH DOCS, an international festival of documentaries about human rights that has been held each year since 2015.

She and her associates were arrested amid an ongoing crackdown directed by authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka to quell demonstrations sparked by the official results of a presidential election last August that handed Lukashenka a sixth term in office.

Opposition figures say the election was rigged. Many countries and groups, including the United States and the European Union, have refused to recognize Lukashenka as the leader of Belarus. They have also imposed sanctions on him and several senior Belarusian officials over the crackdown.

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