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Belarus charges journalist with 'discrediting the state'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 23, 2024 7:33 PM 2 min read
During the march in Warsaw on Aug. 9, Belarusian dissidents wave banned white-and-red flags, the symbol of free Belarus. (Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Siarhiej Dubaviec, a Belarusian writer and journalist living in exile, has been declared suspected of "discrediting the state," "inciting social enmity," and "genocide denial," by the Belarusian regime, among a range of other charges, Radio Svaboda reported on Jan. 23.

Alexander Lukashenko's regime regularly targets those who have voiced opposition his rule or openly hold pro-democracy views and continues to crack down on those with links to the mass protests that followed the Belarusian presidential election in 2020.

Dubaviec has published ten books and now writes a regular column for a Radio Svaboda, the Belarusian language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In the 1990s, Dubaviec was the editor-in-chief of Nasha Niva, the most significant independent Belarusian newspaper in Belarus.

In his column, Dubaviec explains the answers to questions submitted by readers relating to Belarusian current affairs.

The authorities said that the charges relate to "public statements published in the author's blog."

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Among the charges, Dubaviec has been declared suspected of having denied "the fact of genocide of the Belarusian people during the Great Patriotic War and the post-war period" and having committed  "deliberate actions in the rehabilitation of Nazism."

He has also been charged with participating in an extremist group, "namely a formation whose activities are aimed at rehabilitating Nazism."

Dubaviec rejected the accusations. "All my reasoning in the public space is strictly subordinated to objective facts, the Constitution of Belarus and the code of journalists of Radio Svaboda," he said.

Two Svaboda journalists are currently considered political prisoners in Belarus, namely Andrey Kuznechyk and Ihar Losik.

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