Belarus Carries Out Wave Of Detentions For Subscribing To 'Extremist' Telegram Channels

Belarus Carries Out Wave Of Detentions For Subscribing To 'Extremist' Telegram Channels

Andrew H. Sweet

Authorities have declared hundreds of opposition Telegram channels and social media sites "extremist" since Belarus was engulfed by protests after a disputed presidential election in August 2020. Anyone operating or using such sites can face jail time or fines.

The Viasna human rights center said on October 26 that around 30 people were charged the day before for allegedly using banned Telegram channels. In one case, a 22-year-old student was picked up off the street by security agents in a car who threatened her with violence unless she provided the password to her phone, Viasna said.

Viasna says it considers 833 people as political prisoners. They exercised their basic rights to peacefully protest, express opinions, or engage in legitimate political activities.

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