Belarusian priest detained for repost on social media

21-04-2022

Eastern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Photo Twitter, Belarusian Hajun project

A Belarusian priest was detained immediately after holding a mass in his church. According to officials, the reason for the detention was a repost from an “extremist” website.

Andrei Kevlich was appointed recently as the dean of the Mogilev deanery last week. When he held a mass in the eastern-Belarusian Horki church, he was arrested immediately afterwards. He then was held in the Horki police department for an unspecified time.

Kevlich was released but charged for the distribution or production of extremist materials . He was scheduled to be tried on Tuesday. The results of this trial are not known. According to the newsgroup Belarusian Hajun Project, the priest faces a fine or an administrative arrest.

The American NGO Freedom House currently lists Belarus in the 196th place regarding civil liberties. According to the NGO, Belarus has several obstacles to accessing the world wide web, limits content and thus violates user rights. “Internet freedom declined dramatically in Belarus as the government responded to a mass pro-democracy movement—which emerged in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and grew dramatically following the poll’s blatant falsification—with an unprecedented campaign of repression against Belarusian online journalists, activists, and internet users.”

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