Deputy Interior Minister Gennady Kazakevich commented on the detention of journalist Andrei Alexandrov and his girlfriend. They are suspected of sponsoring protest activities. According to Kazakevich, the couple was detained by officers of the units for combating economic crimes to establish channels for financing protest actions.
“Since August 2020, they have been financing people who took part in mass protests and other protest actions in Minsk. Including by paying their fines, and reimbursement for accommodation in isolation centres for offenders and temporary detention centres, and so on. They used foreign funds for this,” said Kazakevich. He claims that some of the money was spent on their personal needs: renting accommodation and groceries. “During the questioning, Alexandrov explained that he received an offer to engage in such activities from the BYHELP solidarity fund,” added the Deputy Interior Minister.
The recording, published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, contains fragments of an audio recording of Andrey Alexandrov’s questioning, where he says that “helping people is good,” which he did. In total, from 22 August to 9 November, Alexandrov paid more than 250 fines. BYHELP transferred money to Alexandrov through hiding places. “The man took more than 100 thousand dollars and euros from the hiding places he found via geolocation coordinates. In addition, he took a bank card from a storage cell in one of Minsk stores, with the help of which bank payments were made and money was cashed,” said Kazakevich.
During the searches, 25 thousand dollars and about 20 thousand Belarusian rubles [about $7,800 – Ed.] were seized. Gennady Kazakevich stressed that a criminal case was opened under Part 2 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code [organization and preparation of group actions that grossly violate public order, as well as funding and other support for such activities]. Recall that on 13 January it became known that journalist and media manager Andrei Alexandrov had been detained.
He is a suspect under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code [Organization and preparation of group actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them]. His girlfriend Irina Zlobina was also detained as a suspect in a criminal case. On 14 January, the office of the news agency BelaPAN was searched in connection with the detention of journalist and media manager Andrei Alexandrov, who cooperates with the agency.