Yesterday (Tuesday, December 22) Julia Slutskaya, the founder and president of Press Club Belarus, was detained at the airport in Minsk. She was returning with her family from a foreign holiday. Her home was searched, and she has been taken into custody by the Financial Investigations Department.
At the same time, the secret services entered the homes of Alla Sharko – program director of Press Club Belarus, Sergey Olshevski – director of the PCB office and Sergey Yakupov – director of the PCB Academy. Searches are also underway in the apartments of these people.
Attorney Sergey Zikracki, who came to Alla Sharko’s house to witness the search, was not allowed in. The searchers did not want to identify themselves. Secret services employees also conduct a search in the Press Club’s office, and the security of the building does not let anyone in.
President of the Press Club Brussels and of the IAPC, Colin Stevens, said “The European Federation of Press Clubs and the International Association of Press Clubs condemns this attack on the founder and staff of the Press Club Belarus and the freedom and integrity of the press in general.
We strongly support our friends and press colleagues in Belarus and call upon the Alexander Lukashenka regime to immediately release those detained, and to respect the independence and freedom of the media.”.
“As president of Brussels Press Club and the IAPC I call upon the EU 27 heads of government and the European Commission to take every action possible to protect the lives and freedoms of journalists in Belarus and put all possible pressure on the Alexander Lukashenka regime to release Julia Slutskaya and her team.”