Friends raising funds for prominent Belarusian journalist Ales Lipai’s gravestone

Friends and colleagues cherish the memory of Belarusian poet and journalist Ales Lipai who passed away almost a year ago.

By the first death anniversary, they are set to establish a monument on his grave in the village of Rudzensk which is 40 kilometers away from Minsk. Ales’ mother and sister are also buried at the local cemetery. A fundraising campaign has been launched for the purpose.

Ales Lipai, the founder and director general of BelaPAN, the only independent news agency in Belarus, suddenly passed away on August, 23 in Minsk. He was 52 years old.

Two weeks prior to his death, several BelaPAN journalists were detained over the so-called BelTA copyright infringement case.

In 1988, Ales Lipai became the first reporter of Radio Liberty in Belarus. He was a member of the Union of Belarusian Writers and the Belarusian PEN Center. His first book of poetry, Under the Snow, was published in 2000. In 2007, The Rest was released.

In June 2018, the home of Ales Lipai was raided by the finance police. Lipai was suspected of tax evasion. After the seven-hour search, Lipai was taken for questioning and then released. The head of the news agency admitted his violating the law and paid taxes and penalties. However, the finance police was set to ‘clarify the circumstances of his receiving money’. Many compared the situation to the persecution of leaders of the Belarusian independent trade union movement and the case of human rights defender Ales Byalyatski.