The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the Belarus authorities following a series of brutal assaults and detentions of journalists who were attempting to report the arrest of opposition candidate Alyaksandr Kazulin.
Kazulin was trying to attend a meeting where President Lukashenko was due to speak when he was attacked and arrested by plain clothes policemen. Journalists who tried to film and report on the incident were set upon by security forces, severely beaten and several were detained.
“This is a shocking violation of democratic rights”, said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “It is a grotesque assault on political rights made worse by the intimidation and violence used against journalists trying to do their job”.
The IFJ says that the incident exposes how President Lukashenko tries to stifle opposition voices and manipulate the election in his own favour.
Siarhei Pulsha, correspondent with BelaPAN News Agency and Dmitry Madorsky, a correspondent for Reuters were both taken to hospital having sustained severe head injuries. Aleh Ulevich, correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus was also severely beaten. Journalists Siarhei Hryts, Vasil Fiedasienka, Yulia Darashkevich and Dzmitry Brushko were also detained at the Kastrychnitski City District Department of Minsk.
The IFJ supports its member organization in Belarus, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, which issued a statement of protest.
“This incident needs to be fully investigated and those responsible for the violence must be dealt with”, said White.
For further information contact the IFJ : +32 2 235 22 00
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries