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Over 60 former political prisoners and their relatives detained in mass raids in Belarus

On Tuesday, January 23, law enforcement agencies in Belarus raided, detained and interrogated former political prisoners and their relatives. At least 84 people were confirmed to have been affected by the raids, according to the Viasna Human Rights Center.

“Some of them were detained, and some were simply searched and released. The security forces [made] people sign non-disclosure agreements,” read one of Viasna’s latest tweets.

According to the human rights activists, the arrest warrants included allegations of “financing extremist activities” and “participation in extremist groups.” Some of the detainees were arrested in connection with the INeedHelpBY initiative. INeedHelpBY offers aid to people who have suffered political repression and are in difficult financial situations. Some of the detainees were informed of this by KGB officers during the searches.

Among those detained were Barys Khamaida, 76, a democratic activist from Vitsebsk, and Maryna Adamovich, the wife of politician Mikalai Statkevich. Statkevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison on politically motivated charges in December 2021. His relatives have not received any letters or information about his health for almost a year.

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