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UPDATED: Police Raid TUT.BY Offices, 12 Journalists Detained

Police searches took place on several floors of the Omega Tower business center where TUT.BY news outlet is headquartered on Tuesday, 7 August.

For the first time in its 20-year history.

The police searched offices of the Belarusian major independent media outlet TUT.BY and BelaPAN news agency.

TUT.BY editor-in-chief Marina Zolotova, editor Anna Kaltygina, and Tatyana Korovenkova of BelaPAN were detained.

Law enforcement officers seized computers and documents, several employees of the company were summoned for questioning.

A criminal case was initiated after the state-owned news agency BelTA had reported abuse access to their paid subscription.

The Belarusian Investigative Committee treat it as ‘unauthorized access to information, made out of personal interest, which caused significant harm’.

“This is not the case against TUT.BY. So far, it’s about several employees of the company not the whole portal.

We are displeased that it partially blocked workflow, people are not allowed into the office.

Nonetheless, reporters continue to work from home, news are published,” TUT.BY founder Yury Zisser commented on the situation.


At the moment at least 12 people were detained, some of them for three days at the temporary detention facility.

The procedural status of other detainees remains unknown. More detentions followed on Wednesday, 8 August.

Deutsche Welle freelancer journalist Pavel Bykovsky, three Realt.by reporters and their editor-in-chief Vladislav Kuletsky and journalist Aleksei Zhukov.

Besides, eyewitnesses reported about police raids in “Kultura” newspaper. The claim remains the same – illegal access to state-run BelTA news.

Reactions

This is how other news agencies, our colleagues and ordinary Belarusians reacted.

International organizations, human rights activists, local authorities and foreign media also expressed their concern over police raids and journalists’ detentions in a number of independent-media organisations in Belarus.

Recall that BelarusFeed is a side project of TUT.BY.

Source: TUT.BY