Belarusian authorities detained former journalist Ihar Karnei in July 2023. He is being held on undisclosed charges.
Karnei formerly freelanced with Radio Svaboda, the Belarus service of the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Belarusian authorities have jailed an increasing number of journalists for their work since 2020, when the country was wracked by mass protests over the disputed reelection of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Arrest and detention
On July 17, 2023, authorities in Minsk searched Karnei’s home, detained him, and ordered him to be held for 10 days, according to a Facebook post by his daughter Palina Karnei and multiple media reports.
Karnei’s daughter told independent news website Mediazona that day that her father was facing criminal charges, but authorities did not disclose the reason for Karnei’s detention. Police seized computers and phones during the search of his apartment, media reports said.
As of late 2023, Karnei was waiting for his trial, his wife Inna Karnei told CPJ via messaging app. She said that the charges had still not been made public, as the lawyer was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Karnei spent 10 days in Akrestina temporary detention center before being transferred to Valadarskaha, a pretrial detention center in Minsk, Karnei’s wife told CPJ.
In October 2023, CPJ called the Belarusian Ministry of Interior for comment, but nobody answered the phone. CPJ emailed the Belarusian Investigative Committee but did not receive any replies.