Belarus threatens citizens with SEVEN YEARS behind bars just for following opposition social media accounts & news sites online | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Belarus threatens citizens with SEVEN YEARS behind bars just for following opposition social media accounts & news sites online

Social media users in Belarus could potentially find themselves facing lengthy stints in prison for signing up to accounts belonging to banned political groups and media outlets on services like Twitter, Facebook and Telegram.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Minsk’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime said that the new rules had been signed into force. “On October 12, the Council of Ministers adopted a decision on measures to combat extremism and the rehabilitation Nazism,” officials said.

“As a result, the directorate has begun work on recognizing unregistered groups of citizens engaged in extremist activities, including using online messenger apps and social networks,” the message reads. Those using Telegram channels to participate in discussions and share news will be prosecuted and face up to seven years in prison, the authorities confirm, adding that “those subscribing to extremist channels and chat rooms will face criminal prosecution!”

A number of popular opposition-backing websites and social media accounts have been designated as extremist in recent weeks, including Poland-based NEXTA and one of the country’s most-read outlets, TUT.by. Citizens could soon be sent to jail just for following their accounts online.

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