RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
The Investigative Committee of Belarus has launched a probe against the BYPOL group, which unites former law enforcement officers who support opposition politicians.
The committee said in its statement on Telegram on November 10 that "an extremist group of country traitors" will face charges of creating of "an extremist group," adding that investigations to identify members of the group are under way.
The Criminal Code of Belarus envisions punishment of up to seven years in prison for the crime.
A BYPOL member, former top police official Alyaksandr Azarau, told Current Time earlier that the group had launched a program called Peramoga (Victory) "to reinstate law and order in the country."
Azarau added that the Peramoga plan aims to convince active police officers to "take the Belarusian people's side" to stop the ongoing massive crackdown on dissent that started after monthslong mass protests erupted across the country following the presidential poll of August last year.
Strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has run the country with an iron fist since 1994, says he won the election, while the opposition and the West say the poll was rigged.
Many opposition politicians and activists have been forced to leave the country or have been jailed since then.
On November 10, the Minsk-based Vyasna human rights center said a couple, Syarhey Krupenich and Anastasia Krupenich-Kandratsyeva, have fled Belarus after they were unexpectedly released from jail last week after serving a 15-day term they had been sentenced to for using Telegram channels labeled as extremist by the Belarusian authorities.
It was the couple's ninth incarceration since August last year.
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