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ORF correspondent arrested on Monday

Put on guard by plainclothes policemen. Informant from human rights organization Vyasna observed the incident.

ORF correspondent Carola Schneider and her cameraman were temporarily stopped on Monday while filming in the center of the Belarusian (Belarusian) capital Minsk. After the local human rights organization Wjasna described the scene on Tuesday morning, the ORF press office confirmed the incident in a broadcast. Austria has lodged a protest, it said as a result of an APA request from the Vienna Foreign Ministry.

“Plainclothes police officers arrested a cameraman and a journalist for Austrian television on Independence Square in Minsk yesterday, who was interviewing a passerby,” reported Vyasna on Twitter. They were brought to a gray Ford Transit behind the Red Chapel (well-known Catholic Church, note) and then to a blue MAZ truck.

The further whereabouts of the journalists are unknown, wrote the renowned NGO, which is itself under massive state pressure. According to the ORF press office, Schneider and her cameraman were then taken to a police station, which they could leave again promptly after their accreditation had been confirmed. The Austrian embassy and the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna had been informed of the incident, informed the press office.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry also confirmed the incident on Tuesday afternoon. “Austria immediately protested against this approach to the Belarusian authorities”, a spokesman for the ministry told the APA and described the arrest of the ORF camera team as “completely unacceptable”. One expects journalists to be able to carry out their work unhindered and that freedom of the media will be fully respected, he emphasized.

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The power apparatus of the controversial President Alexander Lukashenko is repeatedly cracking down on critics and dissenters in Belarus. Most recently there had been raids against independent media and non-governmental organizations in which several people were arrested. The EU no longer recognizes Lukashenko, who has repeatedly been criticized as the “last dictator of Europe”, as head of state since the presidential election, which was widely regarded as falsified, around a year ago. Protests in the months following the election left several dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested. In the course of the protests, international media representatives, such as the German TV broadcaster ARD, had their accreditations withdrawn, at least temporarily

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