4 Afghans Get 10-Year Jail Terms for Greek Migrant Camp Fire

A Greek court on Saturday sentenced four Afghan asylum-seekers convicted of starting fires that burnt down Europe’s largest migrant camp last year to 10 years in prison each.The court in Chios found the defendants guilty of arson while their lawyers denounced a “lack of sense of fairness.”No one died in the fires.The lawyers told AFP they had immediately filed for an appeal after the sentence was handed down.The young Afghans were taken to the court handcuffed and were expected to return to the Avlona jail outside Athens, where they were held before the trial.In March, two other Afghan youths were detained in the same facility for five years in connection with the case.The Moria camp on the Aegean island of Lesbos housed more than 10,000 people before it was destroyed by two fires in September 2020.Media were not allowed inside the courtroom at the end of the trial due to coronavirus precautions.Around 20 people, mainly members of foreign solidarity groups, gathered outside the court meanwhile to call for the defendants to be freed.Defense lawyers said the Afghans did not get a fair trial.They said three had documents showing they were under 18 at the time of arrest but were not recognized as minors.The prosecution is based in large part on the testimony of another Afghan asylum-seeker who identified the six as the perpetrators.But according to defense lawyers, the witness was not in court Friday and did not appear for the trial in March as he could not be located.The defendants claim they were targeted by the witness, an ethnic Pashtun, as all six are Hazara, a persecuted minority in Afghanistan.Other witnesses for the prosecution were police officers, firefighters called to the scene in September 2020 and staff from the European Asylum Service and nongovernmental groups who worked at the camp.Built in 2013 to hold up to 3,000 people, the Moria camp was overwhelmed in 2015 as a huge wave of people began arriving on small boats from nearby Turkey.The camp — home to asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia seeking a better life in the European Union — quickly became a byword for squalor and violence.The two fires broke out on Sept. 8 and 9 as tensions soared amid the coronavirus pandemic.Witnesses told AFP a dispute had broken out as 200 migrants refused to quarantine after either testing positive for COVID-19 or coming into contact with someone infected.Around 13,000 asylum-seekers, among them families with children, pregnant women and people with disabilities, had to sleep in the open for a week after the camp was destroyed.Authorities have since built a temporary camp on Lesbos that hosts about 6,000 people.The EU has allocated $336 million to build a new permanent camp on Lesbos, and for similar facilities on the islands of Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros.Around 10,000 asylum-seekers are currently living on these five Aegean islands, the vast majority of them hoping to settle elsewhere in the EU.                     

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EU Talks Up Hope of Breakthrough at Iran Nuclear Meetings 

European Union negotiators said international talks that resumed Saturday on the Iran nuclear agreement were on track to revive the deal, which crumbled after the United States withdrew in 2018.Senior diplomats from China, Germany, France, Russia and Britain concluded a 90-minute meeting with Iranian representatives at a hotel in the Austrian capital.”We are making progress, but the negotiations are intense and a number of issues [remain], including on how steps are to be implemented,” EU representative Alain Matton told reporters in Vienna.The United States is not formally part of meetings that launched in Vienna this year. But the administration of President Joe Biden has signaled willingness to rejoin the deal under terms that would broadly see the U.S. scale back sanctions on Tehran and Iran return to abiding by the limits on its nuclear activity contained in the 2015 agreement.”The EU will continue with the talks with all the participants … and separately with the United States to find ways to get very close to a final agreement in the coming days,” Matton said.Complicating factorsDiplomats say complicating factors have included the sequence of the proposed measures, dealing with advances in Iran’s nuclear processing capability since the United States withdrew, and the presidential election in Iran next week.Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 deal provided Iran vital sanctions relief in exchange for a commitment to allow extensive international monitoring as it dismantled much of its nuclear program.Former President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in 2018, arguing that it handed Tehran too many concessions while failing to curb its aggression in the region and ambitions to build a nuclear weapon. U.S. sanctions that were re-imposed and intensified under Trump tipped Iran into a severe recession and enrichment of more uranium than permitted under the deal.Iranian officials have balked at the suggestion that some terms agreed to in 2015 would have to be updated, insisting that it would return to nuclear compliance as soon as Washington restored its pre-Trump sanctions policy.

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Moscow Orders New Restrictions as COVID-19 Infections Soar 

Moscow’s mayor on Saturday ordered a week off for some workplaces and imposed restrictions on many businesses to fight coronavirus infections that have more than doubled in the past week.The national coronavirus task force reported 6,701 new confirmed cases in Moscow, compared with 2,936 on June 6. Nationally, the daily tally has spiked by nearly half over the past week, to 13,510.After several weeks of lockdown as the pandemic spread in the spring of 2020, the Russian capital eased restrictions and did not reimpose any during subsequent case increases. But because of the recent sharp rise, “it is impossible not to react to such a situation,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.He ordered enterprises that do not normally work on weekends to remain closed for the next week while continuing to pay employees. Food courts and children’s play areas in shopping centers also are to close for a week beginning Sunday, and restaurants and bars must limit their service.People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus ride a subway car in Moscow, Russia, June 10, 2021.Mask, glove enforcementEarlier in the week, city authorities said enforcement of mask- and glove-wearing requirements on mass transit, in stores and in other public places would be strengthened and that violators could face fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($70).Although Russia was the first country to deploy a coronavirus vaccine, its use has been relatively low; many Russians are reluctant to get vaccinated.President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said 18 million Russians had received the vaccine — about 12% of the population.For the entire pandemic period, the task force has reported nearly 5.2 million infections in the country of about 146 million people and 126,000 deaths. However, a report from Russian state statistics agency Rosstat on Friday found more than 144,000 virus-related deaths last year alone.The statistics agency, unlike the task force, counts fatalities in which coronavirus infection was present or suspected but was not the main cause of death.The agency’s report found about 340,000 more people died in 2020 than in 2019; it did not give details of the causes of the higher year-on-year death toll.The higher death toll and a lower number of births combined to make an overall population decline of 702,000, about twice the decline in 2019, Rosstat said.

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Hundreds Take Part in Funeral of Canadian Muslim Family Killed in Truck Attack

Several hundred mourners joined a public funeral Saturday of a Canadian Muslim family run over and killed by a pickup driver in an attack police said was driven by hate.The four members of the Afzaal family, spanning three generations, were killed last Sunday when Nathaniel Veltman, 20, ran into them while they were out for an evening walk near their home in London, Ontario, authorities said. A fifth family member, a 9-year-old boy, is recovering from his injuries in the hospital.Police have said the attack was premeditated and allege the family was targeted because of their Islamic faith.The hourlong ceremony started after the four coffins draped in Canadian flags rolled into the compound of the Islamic Center of Southwest Ontario and ended with prayers and condolences offered by religious and community leaders. Burial later was private.”The very fact their coffins are draped in the beautiful Canadian flag is an apt testimony of the fact that the entire Canadian nation stands with them,” Raza Bashir, Tarar High Commissioner for Pakistan to Canada, told the gathering.The family moved to Canada from Pakistan 14 years ago.The attack sparked outrage across Canada, with politicians from all sides condemning the crime, spurring growing calls to take action to curb hate crime and Islamophobia. London, 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Toronto, has seen an outpouring of support in the aftermath of the attack.Veltman, who returns to court on Monday, faces four charges of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the killings a “terrorist attack” and vowed to clamp down on far-right groups and online hate.”I think we’re emotionally exhausted,” Imam Aarij Anwer told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. before the ceremony. “We’re looking forward to having some closure on Saturday.” 

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Denmark’s Eriksen Taken to Hospital After Collapsing at Euro 2020

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen was taken to a hospital Saturday after collapsing on the field during a match at the European Championship, leading to the game being suspended for more than 90 minutes. The governing body of European soccer said Eriksen has been stabilized and the Danish soccer federation said he was awake. “Christian Eriksen is awake and is undergoing further examinations at Rigshospitalet,” the Danish federation wrote on Twitter. The Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland had been halted in the 43rd minute with the score 0-0 but was to resume at 8:30 p.m. local time. UEFA said both teams had held an emergency meeting before deciding to continue playing. The players came back out onto the field at around 7:15 p.m. to a huge ovation as they started warming up for a second time. Eriksen was given urgent medical attention on the field for about 10 minutes after collapsing near the end of the first half. He was then carried off on a stretcher. UEFA then announced the game had been suspended “due to a medical emergency.” Eriksen had just played a short pass when he fell face-forward onto the ground. His teammates immediately gestured for help and medics rushed onto the field. Eriksen was given chest compressions as his Denmark teammates stood around him in a shielding wall for privacy. Eriksen’s partner, Sabrina Kvist Jensen, went onto the field and was comforted by Denmark captain Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. The Finland players huddled by their bench and eventually walked off the field while the Inter Milan midfielder was still getting treatment, as did the referees. Eriksen was eventually carried off to a loud ovation, with his teammates walking next to the stretcher. Inter Milan team physician Piero Volpi told The Associated Press that the Italian club was in contact with the Danish soccer federation. “We’re in contact with the Danish federation, the team manager, the team physician. But we still don’t know anything yet,” Volpi said. “We heard what UEFA said and we’re all happy that he’s been stabilized. But that’s all we know.” Volpi added that Eriksen never contracted COVID-19, has no medical conditions that he’s aware of and has passed every medical exam without problem since joining Inter in January 2020 from Tottenham. “But we’ll talk about that when the time is right,” Volpi added of Eriksen’s medical history. “Right now, the important thing is that he recovers.” Eriksen is one of Denmark’s biggest stars and the incident brought an instant sense of shock to the Parken Stadium, where about 15,000 fans fell into hushed silence. Some supporters could be seen crying and hugging in the stands. As the fans in the stadium were waiting for updates, Finland supporters started chanting “Christian,” which was then answered by the Danish fans shouting “Eriksen.” A huge roar then went up from all supporters when the stadium announcer said Eriksen was “stable and awake.” 

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Biden, Putin to Meet for First Time in Geneva

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time in Geneva Wednesday amid deteriorating relations between the world powers.The meeting takes place in the final hours of Biden’s first trip abroad as president that also has him attending the 47th G7 summit in the English city of Cornwall.In an interview with NBC News, portions of which aired Friday, Putin said U.S.-Russia ties had deteriorated to their “lowest point in recent years.”The White House said Saturday only Biden would speak to the media after the meeting, denying the media and other observers the chance to compare Wednesday’s post-meeting developments with those of Trump and Putin together following their 2018 summit in Helsinki.During their post summit news conference, Trump agreed with Putin, instead of his own intelligence agencies, that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the intent of helping Trump win.“A solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting — both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns,” a White House official said.The White House also said it expects the Biden-Putin meeting “to be candid and straightforward” and that Biden will bring up ransomware attacks originating in Russia, the Kremlin’s aggression toward Ukraine, the imprisonment of dissidents and other issues. The two leaders are also expected to cover strategic nuclear stability and souring relations between Russia and the West.

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Taliban Rejects Foreign Military Role in Guarding Kabul Airport After Troop Exit

The Taliban warned Saturday that it would be “unacceptable” to them and a “mistake” on the part of any nation to retain a military presence in Afghanistan to guard airports or other installations after the departure of U.S.-led NATO troops from the warn-torn country.
The insurgent group’s warning raises questions for Washington, other world countries, and aid groups with missions in Kabul about how to safely evacuate their personnel from the landlocked South Asian nation should fighting intensify and engulf the Afghan capital once all international forces withdraw by a September 11 deadline.  
Turkey, with about 500 soldiers still in Afghanistan, has offered its services to guard and run Kabul’s international airport beyond the withdrawal deadline set by U.S. President Joe Biden. Ankara reportedly floated the proposal at a NATO meeting last month.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that talks between different allies, including Turkey, were underway on exactly how to ensure security and safe administration of the Kabul international airport.  NATO Chief Admits Afghan Withdrawal ‘Entails Risks’Despite ‘lot of uncertainty,’ Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance will continue to support the Afghan government, even when the last of its troops have left the country 
But the Taliban vowed to resist deployment of any foreign military in the country after all international forces leave.
“The presence of foreign forces under whatever name or by whichever country in our homeland is unacceptable for the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate [the name of the Taliban’s ex-government in Kabul],” the insurgent group cautioned Saturday in a policy statement sent to journalists.
The Taliban insisted that security of airports, foreign embassies and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of Afghans, saying that  “no one should hold out hope of keeping military or security presence” in Afghanistan.   
“If anyone does make such a mistake, the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate shall view them as occupiers and shall take a stance against them as they have taken against invaders throughout history,” the statement said.
Stoltenberg said the security of the Kabul airport and other “critical” infrastructure” would be discussed at Monday’s NATO summit in Brussels.
“Because this is important not only for NATO but … for the whole international community, for a diplomatic presence of all countries, and of course, also for development aid and different aid organizations. So, NATO allies are addressing these issues as we speak.”  
While the Taliban regularly attacked U.S. and allied troops during their nearly two-decade long stay in Afghanistan, Turkish forces remain unharmed.  
Turkey is the only Islamic country serving under NATO’s non-combatant Resolute Support mission, which is mandated to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces battling the insurgents.
The U.S.-led military drawdown is an outcome of the February 2020 agreement Washington signed with the Taliban in return for counterterrorism guarantees and pledges the group would negotiate a political settlement to the war with the Afghan government.  
But the so-called intra-Afghan dialogue, which started last September in Qatar, has met with little success and mostly has been stalled, with each side blaming the other for the deadlock.  
Afghan battlefield hostilities have particularly intensified since the foreign forces formally began pulling out from the country on May 1.  
The Taliban has captured at least 15 new districts in recent days, while hundreds of combatants on both sides and Afghan civilians have been killed.  
Meanwhile, Islamic State militants have stepped up attacks, targeting Afghan forces and civilians, mainly those from the minority Hazara Shi’ite community.
Officials said Saturday bomb blasts struck two buses in the western part of Kabul, killing at least seven people. There were no immediate claims of responsibility.  
The surge in violence has raised concerns Afghanistan will see more bloodshed in coming months, which could plunge the country into another round of civil war once all international forces leave.

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G-7 Split on Biden’s Anti-China Push

G-7 leaders appear to be split on U.S. President Joe Biden’s call to take more aggressive action against China, including on its forced labor practices, unwillingness to play by international trade rules and problematic global infrastructure financing mechanism.  
“There were some interesting discussions and a little bit of a differentiation of opinion,” said a senior Biden administration official while briefing reporters following G-7 plenary sessions in Cornwall, England. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.  
G-7 leaders agreed the threat of an increasingly assertive China is real but differ on how aggressive the response should be, the official said. Italy, Germany, and the European Union appear reluctant to take as tough a stance on China, and instead would rather focus on the “cooperative nature of the relationship.”
The U.S., Britain, Canada, and France, on the other hand, want to be more “action-oriented” to different degrees. Japan appears to be the most ambivalent of the group. US to Offer Alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative Biden to push G-7 countries to take ‘action against Chinese forced labor’  Build Back Better World  
Biden and this year’s G-7 Summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are anxious to announce an infrastructure financing mechanism for low- and middle-income countries, designed to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative—the global infrastructure development investment strategy in dozens of countries that is central to Beijing’s foreign policy.  
The initiative, called “Build Back Better World,” or “B3W,” aims to mobilize existing development finance mechanisms and the private sector to narrow the gap in infrastructure financing needs in the developing world, while meeting labor, environmental and transparency standards.  
The administration says B3W will “collectively catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure.” The timeline, structure, and scope of the financing to be committed by the U.S., though, is still unclear.   
“It’s fair to ask whether this is going to be actually new funding, new capacity to build infrastructure in the region, or is this a repurposing and repackaging of resources that are also available,” said Robert Daly, director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.  
To expand its sphere of influence, Beijing is known to give BRI loans to countries for projects that are not considered creditworthy by established international lenders.   
“That raises the question of whether this new program is going to be less risk averse,” Daly said, noting that if these projects were bankable, lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank would have funded them already.  
 Xinjiang forced labor  
Sino-U.S. tensions are set to be raised further as Biden lobbies G-7 partners to come out with a strong statement and concrete action against Chinese forced labor practices targeting the Uyghur Muslims from Xinjiang and other ethnic minorities.  Human Rights Watch Calls Out China’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ Toward Uyghurs Group calls for coordinated international action against those responsible  
Since 2018, humanitarian organizations have documented evidence of Beijing implementing a mass detention and forced labor program. The program includes transferring Uyghur and other Chinese minorities from Xinjiang, forcing them to work under harsh conditions in factories across the country, many of which are in the supply chains of global brands.
Biden characterizes the practices as “an affront to human dignity and an egregious example of China’s unfair, economic competition,” according to an administration official. The president wants the G-7 to speak out forcefully in a unified voice against Beijing’s forced labor practices but it is uncertain whether he will have the necessary support to include it in the final G-7 communique to be released Sunday.

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Popular News Outlet Took On Lukashenko; Belarus Responded with Arrests, Raids and a Shutdown

For many Belarusians, a typical day began with Tut.by. Founded in 2000, the web portal quickly became one of the country’s leading independent news services, with over 1.8 million unique visitors daily.Today, the news organization’s website is shut down by government order, although its staff continue to distribute news as best they are able on other platforms.The success of the Minsk-based outlet, founded by the late businessman and philanthropist Yuri Zisser, was based on its independence.”It was the media market’s standard-bearer,” said Nikolai Khalezin, a journalist and the co-founder of the London-based Belarus Free Theater, which produces shows on social justice and human rights. ”This was in large part because Yuri Zisser was successful in maintaining a political balance without taking any one side.”As a result, Khalezin said, Tut.by became the country’s biggest internet-based platform, offering news, email service, sales listings for real estate and more. “All of this made it a market darling,” Khalezin said.”Tut.by would have been the equivalent of, say, The New York Times,” said Uladzimir Matskevich, a former journalist and renowned Belarusian philosopher and methodologist. “(But) with content easily accessible and free to all.”All that changed in August last year, when mass protests spilled across Belarus after President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in a contested election. Members of the opposition were jailed or forced into exile, protesters violently suppressed, and media targeted.Tut.by, which has had previous run-ins with Lukashenko’s government, has not been spared. Its offices have been raided; its reporters detained. The Ministry of Information stripped the outlet of its official media status in December, and last month it blocked access to Tut.by’s news website, claiming it was in violation of the country’s mass media law.Even as the pressure increased last year, Tut.by’s journalists remained committed to reporting on rights violations.One of those was Katerina Borisevich, whose reporting on Roman Bondarenko, an activist who died in November in police custody, countered the official account.Up to that point, the state had claimed Bondarenko was drunk and involved in a street fight.But Borisevich reported that details from his medical records showed that Bondarenko had no alcohol in his system. Witnesses and friends of the activist had also said that men believed to be plainclothes police officers had beaten Bondarenko unconscious in the courtyard of his apartment building.Borisevich’s coverage on Tut.by did not go unnoticed.”The evening of November 19, I left home to go to the store, and I never returned,” Borisevich told VOA. “Or, more accurately, I returned with seven strangers, and my home was searched while my 17-year-old daughter watched. I had no illusions. From the time of the first questioning, I knew that I would be convicted.”A court in March sentenced Borisevich to six months in prison for divulging medical secrets. The doctor who provided the medical records was handed a suspended sentence.Borisevich was released on May 19. But her news outlet’s troubles were far from over.In late May, security forces raided the home of Yulia Chernyavskaya, the widow of Tut.by’s founder, and searched the news outlet’s offices.Authorities say the company is under investigation for mass tax evasion.Belarusian authorities detained more than a dozen journalists, confiscated computers and searched homes. They questioned and detained at least four employees before releasing them under nondisclosure agreements. They placed Chernyavskaya under house arrest, froze her daughter’s bank accounts and blocked access to the news website.Retaliatory actionsIt comes as no small irony to Khalezin that Tut.by’s death blow came in the form of criminal tax-evasion charges.The company was based in Minsk’s High-Tech Park, an economic zone set up by Lukashenko in 2005 that is sometimes called the Belarusian Silicon Valley. Companies based there are exempt from value-added tax and real estate and corporate taxes.”It was the government that originally allowed Tut.by to be part of High-Tech Park and to take advantage of various tax breaks, and now it’s the government accusing it of tax evasion,” Khalezin said.Analysts believe the government’s harassment of Tut.by and other independent news outlets is in retaliation for their coverage of the months of unrest and violent suppression after the elections.At a May 21 briefing, Natalia Belikova, project coordinator for Press Club Belarus, described the raid as “a purging of the Belarusian media space.””With so many other information resources blocked, Tut.by served as a window to the world,” Matskevich, the philosopher, told VOA. “But now that window has been slammed shut.”Tut.by co-founder Kirill Voloshin also believes the legal cases are driven by retaliation.”The cause of the crackdown is our conscientious and honest coverage of events related to what the majority of the electorate believed was election fraud, as well as the ensuing violence and endless arrests,” Voloshin said.”We covered everything in an uncompromising, honest and efficient manner. When there were different interpretations of the same event, we always gave the other side an opportunity to have its say. But even this approach did not satisfy the powers that be.”Voloshin says Lukashenko’s “assassination of the portal” is made evident by those targeted in the tax-evasion case that put it out of operation: reporters, editors, programmers, the founder’s wife, and Sergei Povalishev, director of Hoster.by, which hosted Tut.by.”It’s unfathomable that these people are somehow being accused of tax evasion,” Voloshin said, adding that Tut.by was vigilant about submitting business plans and financial documentation to remain eligible for its High-Tech Park exemptions.Under attackTut.by’s experiences reflect the wider troubling climate for media since the elections. Hundreds of media workers have been arrested, with around 30 still detained, and more than 60 cases of violence against the press were recorded by the Belarusian Association of Journalists.The government has blocked access to more than 50 websites in Belarus, and many outlets and their staff have been forced into exile.Media outlets and bloggers with big followings have been singled out, including Raman Pratasevich, who ran the popular Telegram channel Nexta. On May 23, Belarus ordered a passenger plane in its airspace to divert to Minsk so it could arrest Pratasevich.According to Matskevich, the Nexta Telegram channel was of major concern to Lukashenko. When the country’s internet was shut down and hundreds of protesters were beaten, it was Nexta — whose office is based in Poland — that provided timely information on what was happening through videos and photos sent in by people on the streets.It acted as a news crowdsourcing project which, by the speed of its distribution, outflanked other media outlets in the process.While Matskevich does not see a direct link between the Tut.by crackdown and the Pratasevich arrest, he calls it all part of a “widespread crackdown on all information services.”After the arrest of Pratasevich, Lukashenko signed into law a decree that allows the shutdown of the internet if national security is threatened.While the decree conveys a sense of adjudication and finality, some, including Khalezin, refuse to believe Lukashenko holds the winning hand.”He has gambled and lost,” he told VOA. “Diplomatic relations with Latvia are severed; airspace over Belarus is shut down.”Latvia completely froze relations with Belarus over the flight diversion.Tut.by is facing huge pressure, but it has no plans to stop.Before the May raids, the outlet’s Telegram channel had close to 300,000 subscribers. It now has more than half a million.The editors plan to continue — at least on social media. Its co-founder Voloshin said he plans to ask the Belarusian Ministry of Information which articles allegedly violated a law, in a bid to eventually have the site restored.  But he doubts Tut.by will be permitted a comeback.”We don’t have any access to the servers,” he said. “For me, at least, the future won’t seem bright until democracy reaches our shores.”Still, Voloshin maintains the team has no regrets.”Our job was to carry forward the mission first advanced by Yuri Zisser: that of transparent, multifaceted and timely coverage of events taking place in our country,” he said. “Tut.by has never abandoned that mission and doesn’t intend to now. We should not regret that we told people the truth.”

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