Belarus prosecutors warn web critics of criminal sanctions

The law enforcement agencies have been receiving more and complaints of defamation and insults on the Internet, Pavel Yeliseyeu, a representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office, said on Monday.

According to him, lots of citizens report cases of inappropriate criticism, harassment, insults and threats on various web platforms, including social networks and messengers, on the back of expressing their position on issues of the country’s social and political life.

Public slandering and badmouthing on the Internet are not only unacceptable, they are also punishable by law. Such actions may carry administrative, civil, and criminal liability,” Yeliseyeu told stat-run news agency BelTA.

It should be noted that incumbent president Alyaksandr Lukashenka feels free to rain insults on his rivals and Belarusian opposition.

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Last Thursday, Belarusian Interior Minister Yury Karayeu faulted Telegram channels and even Radio Free Europe for ‘coordinating protests’ in Belarus over their covering pickets and rallies. According to the human rights centre Viasna, more than 360 people were detained at the ‘solidarity chain’ rallies (as well as before and after the rallies), held throughout the country from 18 to 21 June.

Moreover, on the same day, the Belarusian leader slammed ‘puppeteers from Poland and Russia’ who are ‘behind spreading fakes’ about him and his family on the Internet, including on Telegram. On the back of it, Ihar Losik, a blogger and administrator of one of the most popular Telegram channels in Belarus, was detained and taken into custody.

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