YouTube account of Belarus’ Investigative Committee BLOCKED, spokeswoman reveals

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By Jonny Tickle

Google, the parent company of the world’s most popular online video-sharing platform YouTube, has blocked the official channel of Belarus’ Investigative Committee, the agency’s official representative revealed on Tuesday.

Speaking to Moscow-based news agency RIA Novosti, Yulia Goncharova said that the account was blocked for violating community rules.

“The channel contained video clips on high-profile cases, materials on the fight against crime, combating cybercrime and drug trafficking, presentation videos, and other socially significant data,” Goncharova said, noting that it had 23,000 subscribers.

A screenshot posted later by the Investigative Committee revealed that Google made the decision due to the company’s “export restriction and sanctions policy,” noting that the account “cannot be restored.”

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Earlier this year, America’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) called the Belarusian Investigative Committee a “government organization at the forefront of post-election repression,” accusing it of investigating “politically motivated criminal cases.” They subsequently decided to put the government body under economic sanctions, as well as its chairman Dmitry Gora and his three deputies.

The committee is accused by Washington of having unlawfully targeted human rights organizations, as well as the dissident Roman Protasevich.

The blocking was welcomed by Franak Viačorka, a prominent assistant to former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who accused the government body of being “involved in repressions” against civil society.

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