Belarusian Investigative Committee opens case over public calls for seizure of power
MINSK. March 2 (Interfax) - The Belarusian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case over public calls for seizure of power before the referendum.
"The prosecutors of the Volkovyssky district [Grodno region of Belarus], by monitoring the Internet, found the publication on one of the destructive Telegram channels, whose information products have been recognized as extremist materials by court, of public calls for the seizure of state power, the forcible change of the constitutional system of the Republic of Belarus, and the commission of an act of terrorism," the Investigative Committee said.
"On February 26, 2022, before the republic's referendum on changes and additions to its Main Law, an unidentified person published a report on Telegram that called on other citizens to come to the square with weapons and forcibly seize power," the report said.
The prosecutor opened a criminal case based on the article of the Criminal Code dealing with calls for restrictive measures (sanctions) aimed at harming the national security of Belarus using the mass media or the Internet. The crime is punishable by four to 12 years in prison.
A referendum on the constitution took place in Belarus on February 27 (early voting took place on February 22-26). According to the Central Elections Commission, the voter turnout was 78.63%, and the changes were supported by 82.86% of the people who voted, or 65.16% of the voters on the lists.