Fri, 07 May 2021

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reiterated its call for Belarusian authorities to release Ihar Losik, a popular blogger and RFE/RL consultant, as he marked his 300th day in detention on charges widely considered to have been trumped-up.

Losik has been 'cruelly separated from his wife, his daughter, and his colleagues for far too long' and 'must be freed from detention and allowed to rejoin his family,' RFE/RL President Jamie Fly said in a statement on April 21.

He also urged the government to cease its 'repressive campaign against independent journalists, including RFE/RL reporters and staff,' and allow them to 'continue their work to provide objective information to the people of Belarus.'

Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has ruled the country since 1994, has orchestrated a brutal crackdown since protesters flooded streets across the country following a presidential election they say was rigged in his favor.

Almost 30,000 people have been detained since the August 2020 vote, hundreds beaten, several killed, and the media targeted by security forces.

Losik, 28, is among more than 300 political prisoners caught up in the crackdown, according to human rights groups.

Losik has been in pretrial detention since June 2020. He was initially charged with allegedly using his popular Telegram channel to 'prepare to disrupt public order' ahead of the August election.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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