Raids against prominent Charter97 and Narodnaya Volya
(18/03-2010) On the Day of Solidarity in Belarus, March 16th, searches were carried out in the offices of the web-site charter97.org and in the office of the independent newspaper Narodnaya Volya.
In addition, searches were held in the private apartment of the leader of ‘European Belarus’ and the founder of Charter 97 Andrei Sannikov and his wife, the journalist Iryna Khalip and the Narodnaya Volya journalist Natalya Radzina. The editor–in-chief of the charter97 web-page, Natalya Radzina, was beaten during the raid.The searches were carried out by masked special forces of the KGB, and the same evening searches were also carried out in the homes of other staff of Charter97. All office equipment, including computers, was seized at the raid. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the raid.
Andrey Sannikov, who on 14 March announced that he will run for presidency against president Lukashenko at next years’ presidential elections, calls the crack-down ‘a meaningful attempt of authorities to hamper work of one of the most popular Belarusian news site and intimidate both its workers and readers.’ Sannikov assures that the work of charter97 will continue despite the difficulties. Current events show that Lukashenkos regime is as a repressive one and not improving. In addition to the raid against Belarusian media, the trial against the political prisoner Mikalai Autokovich is in process at the Supreme Court, and the proceedings of the trials again show that Autokovich is not granted a fair trial. On the 16th of March, a Solidarity Day rally was disbanded and several protesters arrested