Czech Republic to give 10 million crowns to support persecuted Belarusians

The funds will serve to help persecuted protesters, treat the injured, and support independent media in Belarus

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 25.08.2020 08:11:47 (updated on 25.08.2020) Reading time: 1 minute

Prague, Aug 24 (CTK) – The Czech government has approved the creation of a fund to help Belarusians persecuted by Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) has told journalists.

The Czech Republic will set aside ten million crowns from the budget of the Foreign Ministry for this purpose.

The money will serve to help the persecuted people, treat the injured, and support independent media.

“At the moment, there is primarily the priority of supporting independent media. It is necessary to ensure that citizens in Belarus have access to independent information,” Petříček said.

“In general, this is support to civic society. In practical spheres, this is legal aid to the people who have lost their jobs because they warned of the vote rigging,” he added.

“Legal aid to the journalists who are facing persecution. Psychological and therapeutic aid to the people who were detained and according to all evidence exposed to torture by the Belarusian bodies,” Petříček said.

The Czech Republic will also consider providing medical help to whom it is inaccessible in Belarus in Czech hospitals.

The Czech embassy in Minsk, along with Belarusian civic groups, are to decide on the distribution of the help.

A part of the aid will materialize with the use of Czech government bodies in cooperation with the embassy, through NGOs in Belarus and organisations ensuring independent news coverage in the country.

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Mass protests burst out in Belarus following the August 9 presidential elections, in which, according to official results, Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected for the sixth time since 1994. Many Belarusians consider the results rigged, protest against them and demand Lukashenko’s departure, despite the security forces’ tough interventions against them .

About 7,000 protesters have been recently arrested and some 4,000 still remain in prison.

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