Natalya Radina, Belarus

International Press Freedom Awards

2011 CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee

Natalya Radina, editor-in-chief of the pro-opposition news website Charter 97, which covers government wrongdoing, human rights violations, and corruption in Belarus, was arrested in December 2010 after members of the KGB, the country’s security service, stormed her office. Radina was indicted on charges of organizing mass disorder in the post-election opposition protests in Minsk, and faced up to 15 years in prison.

In late January, KGB officers released Radina, pending trial, on the condition that she immediately leave Minsk for the western town of Kobrin, where she held permanent residence. She was forced to sign an agreement saying she wouldn’t leave Kobrin during the investigation, and her passport was confiscated, she said. The KGB forbade her from speaking substantively about her case, and she was ordered to be available by cell phone at all times, to check in daily with the local police, and to appear at regional KGB headquarters whenever summoned, she said.

In March 2011, unable to work and fearing imprisonment, Radina fled Belarus for Russia. She spent the next four months hiding in Moscow before relocating to Lithuania, where she was granted asylum. She continues to edit Charter 97, which has been a reliable news source for information from the tightly controlled nation.

To watch Natalya Radina’s acceptance speech, click here.

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