Journalists associated with the independent news agency BiełPAN, Iryna Leushyna and Dzmitryj Navajalau, have heard accusations from investigators of the Belarusian regime, the agency’s editorial staff informed. Investigators accuse them of tax evasion. Journalists were detained and placed in custody in July. It was then reported that it was a criminal case concerning “mass riots”.
Iryna Leuszyna is the editor-in-chief of the independent Belarusian news agency BiełaPAN. Dzmitry Naważyłau is the former director of this agency. As the editorial office informed – citing an anonymous source – both received criminal charges last week. Investigators accuse journalists of not paying taxes.
It was also decided to arrest Leuszyna and Navajała for two months, calculated from the date of their arrest on August 18.
Employees of BelPAN, the only independent news agency in Belarus, in custody
Established in 1991, BiełaPAN is the oldest and the only independent news agency in Belarus. It publishes the Navina news portal.
On August 27, the Belarusian Investigative Committee announced that the detained employees of the BiełaPAN agency were suspected of tax evasion. According to investigators, the management of the agency was supposed to provide the tax office with false information in 2018-2021, as a result of which it did not pay the state 100,000 rubles.
The Investigative Committee indicated that the suspects in this criminal case include, inter alia, Leuszyna, Naważyłau and Andrej Aleksandrau – a collaborator of BiełaPAN, who was arrested in January and accused, inter alia, of high treason.
Before, on July 18, searches took place in the agency’s editorial office, the apartments of five employees and the former director. The editorial office was sealed. Leuszyna, Naważyłau and the accountant Kaciaryna Bajewa were arrested and placed under arrest. It was then reported that it was a criminal case concerning “mass riots”. Bajewa was released from custody at the end of August, but has the status of a suspect in a criminal case. All the arrested BiełaPAN employees were considered political prisoners.
On July 18, the agency’s websites stopped working and its servers were confiscated. However, access to the Navina website was blocked last year during protests against the rigging of the presidential elections in Belarus. However, the site is accessible via VPN in Belarus, as are most independent media.
Main photo source: Belsat