The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus recognizes the initiatives not supported by Lukashenko as an extremist with enviable regularity. Now it’s turned for “Our House” as well, for the 6th time. On May 5, the Ministry of Internal Affairs recognized the international centre of civil initiatives “Our House” and its pages on social networks as an “extremist formation”. It was the 6th time for “Our House” to be recognised as “extremist”.
Approximately 55 associations, foundations, telegram channels and media outlets have already been recognized as “extremist formations”. Among them are one of the largest protest Telegram channels, NEXTA, TV channel “Belsat,” news agency “Belapan,” media “Radio Svaboda,” several anarchist online resources, an association of former security forces BYPOL, and channel “Cyberpartisans”. Founder or leader of the “extremist formation” can be punished for up to 10 years of prison. For “participation to commit a crime,” under Part 3 of the same article, faces up to six years in jail.
Even earlier, on May 18, 2021, Telegram channels “NASH DOM”, “NASH DOM TV”, and the youtube channel “NASH DOM TV” appeared on the list of banned. The ruling confirming this said that “Our House” called for participation in unsanctioned rallies, mass disturbances on the grounds of political and ideological enmity, unconstitutional seizure of power and incitement of social hatred between citizens of Belarus and representatives of state bodies. Also, as KGB says, our channels contained calls to destabilize the work of the Central Election Commission and state bodies, insulting comments and formation of feelings of hostility, disgust and hatred towards representatives of state bodies.
On September 3, 2021, the head of the ICCI “Our House”, Olga Karach, was included in the list of “persons involved in terrorist activities”. She was charged with this by the KGB of Belarus. She got accused of “aiding and abetting in preparation for an act of terrorism by a group of persons by prior conspiracy” and “an act of terrorism against a state or public figure”.
On December 3, 2021, access to “Our House” resources got restricted by the Prosecutor General of Belarus order. The decision was taken because of the materials aimed at “inciting ethnic hatred or discord against citizens of Russia and its leadership. On January 14, 2022, the site “Our House” was declared extremist in Belarus.
Being recognized as an extremist formation is akin to a compliment for us – it means our work is visible to Lukashenko’s illegitimate regime. It’s a good reason to keep doing what we do: collecting information about tortures and repressions, giving it to European politicians and organizations, supporting women and children in prisons and difficult life situations, organizing actions, circles for children, humanitarian cargoes, and much more. We are sure that our activity will contribute to Lukashenka’s resignation and a free Belarus.