In the latest act of continued repression and intimidation by the regime, the authorities have on Monday targeted the largest independent media outlet Tut.by. At least 15 outlet workers have been detained, Its domain has been blocked, offices and private apartments of their staff searched, and a criminal case against its leadership opened.
Recent actions against other independent media and journalists, including the detentions of Alexander Burakov, a freelance reporter for Deutsche Welle, Vladimir Laptsevich, a journalist with online news portal Mogilev Region and Tatyana Kapitonova, a freelance photojournalist and Lyubov Kasperovich, a Tut.by journalist detained while covering a court trial, shows the complete disregard by the Belarusian authorities for freedom of expression. These actions of the Belarusian authorities contradict the core international commitments undertaken by Belarus including within the UN and the OSCE.
The harassment of journalists must stop and all those detained must be immediately released, together with all political prisoners. The EU also calls for an end to violence and repression against peaceful protesters and various segments of the society, including human rights defenders or representatives of minorities as well as the members of the political opposition.
There can be no impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses. The EU, together with the international community, is coordinating efforts to hold them to account.
The EU continues to stand by the people of Belarus in their call for respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and will continue to support civil society and independent media.