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'Index on Censorship' and Wikileaks

Index on Censorship | 09.02.2011 14:52 | Repression

Index on Censorship is troubled by the uncomfortably close relationship between one of Wikileak's paid correspondents and the dictatorial regime of Belarus, where the cables are likely to be used to persecute political opponents of President-for-Life Lukashenko, who recently "won" a discredited reelection bid by the simple strategy of imprisoning all opposition candidates.

It has been reported that an “accredited” journalist for Wikileaks, Israel Shamir, met with Uladzimri Makei, the Head of the Presidential administration in Belarus. Subsequently, it was reported in the Belarus Telegraf that a state newspaper would be publishing documents about the Belarusian opposition.

Wikileaks has always maintained it takes care to ensure that names of political activists are redacted from cables before publication on its website. Index on Censorship is concerned that some of the Wikileaks cables relating to Belarus that have not appeared on the main Wikileaks website are now in the public domain.

There are various “commercial crimes” in Belarus that make it a criminal offence to run an unregistered organisation. In turn, many NGOs are prohibited from registering their organisations. This places a lot of civil society in Belarus in a legal grey area which can mean political activists, who cannot register, are placed in breach of the law for accepting foreign funding. It is rumoured in Belarus that many of the Wikileaks cables outline foreign support for opposition groups. Our worry is that this information could be used to prosecute some of the political prisoners currently held by the KGB.

Index on Censorship