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Belarusian court claims photo of Polish President is "propagated extremism"

Monday, 7 August 2023, 18:26
Belarusian court claims photo of Polish President is propagated extremism
Photo: Viasna Human Rights Center

A court in the Belarusian city of Rahachow in Homiel Oblast drew up a protocol on "extremist activity" against activist Dzyanis Dashkevich because of a photo of Polish President Andrzej Duda with a white-red-white flag in the background.

Source: European Pravda with reference to the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty

Details: Yet another report on Dashkevich, who has been living in Poland for a year, was made on 31 July. According to the document, the activist had posted "informational products promoting extremist activities" on the local website Rahachow.Online.

As an example, the report indicates a reprint of the Reuters article titled President Andrzej Duda held consultations with Prime Minister and Head of Defence Ministry. To illustrate the news, Dashkevich used a photo of Duda against the background of a white-red-white flag.

Dashkevich told Radio Liberty that the police continue to report him, although they know that he has left Belarus.

Quote: "Before this report, they carried out a ‘housing check’, they were looking for equipment. They found nothing. They asked relatives where exactly I live, who else works on the Rahachow.Online website. They went not only to my relatives and friends, but also to businesses advertised on our website until 2020," the activist added.

He says he does not understand how the president of Poland can "promote extremist activities," and believes that he is under scrutiny on the orders of "local ideologist Natalia Prus".

The white-red-white flag was the state flag of the Belarusian People's Republic in 1918 and the Republic of Belarus in 1991-1995. In a referendum in 1995, it was deprived of the status of a state symbol and replaced with a red-green banner.

The white-red-white flag became actively used by the Belarusian opposition and protesters, especially after the falsified 2020 presidential election. Officially, Belarusian authorities consider the demonstration of this banner to be an act of vandalism.

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