Dzmitry Halko, a Belarusian-Ukrainian journalist, was arrested by Belarusian authorities when crossing the border into Belarus from the Ukrainian city of Lviv and faces jail in Belarus, his Ukrainian wife Julia Garkusha said on Facebook on April 22.
She said he had been arrested in the Stolin district of Brest Oblast in Belarus.
Garkusha told the Kyiv Post on April 24 that Halko had gone to Belarus to repay a tax debt, unblock his bank card and see his son, who had also been in Ukraine and returned to Belarus a month ago.
Belarusian authorities confirmed the arrest. Garkusha wrote late on April 23 that the authorities had not given any information about Halko to his mother.
Halko left Belarus for Ukraine in December after Belarusian authorities opened a criminal case against him.
He is accused of using violence against police officers and faces up to six years in prison. He denies the accusations of assaulting police officers.
In November Halko celebrated his son’s birthday in Minsk, and police officers arrived at Halko’s apartment, claiming that they had received a complaint about noise. Halko and his son then argued with the officers, and a police squad broke into the apartment and stormed it.
Several people received injuries during the raid.
Earlier, Halko told the Kyiv Post the police raid was connected to Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s crackdown on dissent. The server of the Belarusian Partisan, an opposition website, was based in his apartment, and his former wife works at the Belarusian Partisan.
The Belarusian Partisan’s site was blocked by Belarusian authorities in December.
Halko became an editor and journalist at the Belarusian Partisan online newspaper in 2016 and transformed it into one of the most opposition-minded and critical media outlets in Belarus. The Belarusian Partisan was founded by Pavlo Sheremet, a Belarusian-Ukrainian journalist who was killed by a car bomb in Kyiv in 2016.
Halko resigned from the Belarusian Partisan in 2017 in what he described as part of a government crackdown on independent media.
In 2015 Halko freelanced for the Kyiv Post.
Halko, known for his pro-Ukrainian and liberal views, also covered Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution and Russia’s war against Ukraine for the Novy Chas online newspaper from 2013 to 2015.
Halko has lived alternately in Minsk and the Ukrainian city of Mariupol since 2014.
Meanwhile, last year Russia’s Federal Security Service kidnapped Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Hryb in Belarus and is still holding him in custody in what he believes to be a fabricated terrorism case.
Belarus has a long history of political prisoners, crackdowns on dissent and tight censorship of the media.
At least five opponents of Lukashenko’s dictatorship disappeared in Belarus in 1999 to 2002 and are believed to be dead.
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