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Computers Returned To Raided Independent Belarusian TV Channel


Officers from Belarus's Investigative Committee seized the computers during a raid of Belsat’s Minsk offices on April 9. 

MINSK -- An independent TV channel based in Poland and broadcasting into Belarus says all computers seized by Belarusian police during a recent raid of their Minsk office have been returned.

Alyaksey Dzikavitski, deputy director of Belsat TV, told RFE/RL's Belarusian Service that the equipment was returned by officers of the powerful Investigative Committee in the late afternoon on April 11.

The Investigative Committee seized the computers during a raid of Belsat’s Minsk offices on April 9.

A spokesman for the committee told RFE/RL at the time that the search was linked to an unspecified "libel case."

Belsat is no stranger to government harassment.

In 2016, Belarus’s Supreme Court barred Telewizja Polska -- the Polish public broadcaster which operates the channel -- from using the name Belsat TV for its Belarusian-language broadcasts and online programming.

The court said such usage violates the rights of a Belarusian satellite and cable TV equipment company called BELSATplus.

Belsat TV continued to use its name despite the ruling, saying its trademark does not fall under Belarusian jurisdiction as it is registered in Poland and operates from that country.

Rights advocates say authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government has severely restricted independent media as part of his efforts to suppress dissent during his almost 25-year rule.

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