New York, September 28, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the 72-hour detention of Belarusian journalist Andrei Tolchyn on extremism charges.
“Belarusian authorities continue to detain journalists on spurious grounds, with their preferred weapon being extremism charges,” Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator said on Thursday. “Authorities should drop all charges against Andrei Tolchyn, release him immediately, and ensure that no journalists are jailed for their work.”
On Wednesday, authorities in the southeastern city of Homel detained Tolchyn, a freelance camera operator, and placed him under arrest for 72 hours, according to media reports and the Belarusian Association of Journalists, an advocacy and trade group operating from exile.
On Thursday, authorities searched Tolchyn’s home as part of an unspecified “extremism” case and seized his equipment, including a laptop, according to a BAJ representative, who spoke to CPJ under condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
CPJ emailed the Belarusian Investigative Committee, the country’s law enforcement agency, for comment but did not receive any response.