Belarus Declares Social Media Page Of Rights Organization 'Extremist'

A Belarusian court in Homel, a town 300 kilometers southeast of the capital, Minsk, ruled on December 30 that material published by Vyasna on its Telegram channel is extremist.

Vyasna, which was founded in 1996, documented Lukashenka’s brutal crackdown on the opposition following the disputed August 2020 presidential election, publishing data on the thousands of detentions as well as cases of torture.

Vyasna did not escape the postelection repression, with seven members of the organization currently behind bars.

The December 30 ruling opens the door to prosecuting subscribers of the channel as well.

Over the past year, Lukashenka’s government has declared about 300 Internet sites and online channels -- the majority run by the opposition -- as “extremist” as he seeks to quash any challenge to his 27-year rule.

Tens of thousands of Belarusian citizens took to the streets last year to demand Lukashenka step down following what the election, which they claim was rigged.

Belarus earlier this month added RFE/RL's Belarus Service, known locally as Radio Svaboda, to its registry of extremist organizations.