Belarus detains 100 after KGB gunfight: rights group News

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

Belarus’s most prominent human rights group said on Friday that about 100 people had been arrested in connection with the shooting of a pro-opposition activist and a security official.

The Vienna Human Rights Center said arrests had been made in the capital, Minsk, and seven other cities, and that the incident appeared to be linked to comments made on social media.

It said the detainees were charged with insulting government officials and inciting “social animosity” and were facing up to 12 years in prison.

Belarusian authorities reported the incident on Tuesday night, alleging that “particularly dangerous criminals” opened fire on security officials when they arrived at his apartment to search for “persons involved in terrorist activities”.

Authorities say an official from the Belarusian State Security Service, or KGB, was killed and another was shot dead.

EPAM Systems, a large US-based IT company founded by the Belarusians, has a dead civilian, his employee Andrei Zeltzer. EPAM launched a program last year to train Belarusian IT workers who lost their jobs in support of the violent protests against longtime President Alexander Lukashenko, who lied to opponents of the August 2020 election.

On Friday, Lukashenko observed a minute of silence during a meeting with officials from the presidential administration in honor of the dead KGB officer, saying he would not “forgive this man’s death.”

Earlier this week, Belarus’s deputy interior minister, Nikolai Karpiankov, said in a televised speech that those who commented on the incident on social media called them “completely insane” and called for mass arrests.

“Under Lukashenko, a proper investigation is impossible,” Pavel Latushko, Belarus’s top opposition activist, told the Associated Press.

“Not only Andrei Gelser – a calm, kind and compassionate man – has been declared a terrorist. All those who disagree with the regime have been declared terrorists, ”Latushko told the AP from Warsaw, where he is currently in exile.

On Wednesday, the Belarusian Information Ministry blocked access to the Belarusian Komsomolskaya Pravda website – a Belarusian subsidiary of a popular Russian newspaper of the same name.

The ministry did not give a reason for the decision to block the website, which is visited by about 20,000 users a day, but had limited access to it after hours of running a story about the shooting, with a comment from a friend of the deceased who described it in a positive light.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russian authorities “clearly do not agree” with the sanctions.

“We believe that this violates the principle of freedom of the media. We hope that the Belarusian side will confirm the working conditions of our media outlets, “said Peskov.

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