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Editor Of Belarusian Media Outlet Detained After Search Of His Apartment

Syarhey Satsuk, the chief editor of Yezhednevnik, or online outlet, who has been arrested.
Syarhey Satsuk, the chief editor of Yezhednevnik, or online outlet, who has been arrested.

The editor of a Belarusian media outlet that has covered protests against the Belarusian regime and reported on journalists who have been labeled extremist was arrested on December 8 after a search of his apartment.

Syarhey Satsuk, the chief editor of the online news outlet, was detained and will be sent to a pretrial detention center, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) said. The website also was blocked.

Satsuk was detained after the search during which his phones and laptop computers were confiscated and after interrogation by the Investigative Committee in an old case related to an alleged bribe.

Satsuk was briefly detained in March 2020 on the bribery charge, which is linked to an annual rating of businesses published by his outlet. The editorial office of the online publication was searched following Satsuk's detention, the BAJ said at the time, adding that documents were seized during the operation.

Satsuk was later released and the criminal investigation against him was closed.

At the time, Satsuk's brother, Alyaksandr, called the accusations “lies and nonsense.” He told RFE/RL then that he did not rule out that the detention may have been connected with investigative reporting his brother had done into alleged corruption at the Ministry of Health Protection related to the import of medical drugs.

Earlier this month, Satsuk's media outlet launched a new project about independent journalists and activists who were branded extremists and terrorists by Belarusian authorities.

Satsuk's arrest could be linked to that, or it could be that “it's simply his turn," Alyaksandr Satsuk told the AP.

Satsuk is the latest target in a sweeping crackdown on independent media by the Belarusian authorities that followed the presidential election in August 2020 that the opposition and Western countries rejected as rigged.

Andrei Bastunets, the head of the BAJ, told the AP that journalism has become one of the most dangerous professions in Belarus.

“The situation with freedom of speech in Belarus is the worst in Europe. The authorities are depriving citizens of any alternative information,” Bastunets said.

With reporting by AP
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