Arche faces closure by the Belarusian authorities
On 14 November, Arche editor Valery Bulhakau announced that he has temporarily left Belarus, where he faces criminal charges of extremism and illegal financial activities that could land him a prison sentence of up to 7 years. According the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the charges relate to an incident in September, when Bulhakau was temporarily arrested at an Arche book signing on the grounds of “illegal business activities” (selling copies without invoices).
Bulhakau’s personal library numbering 6000 books was subsequently confiscated, financial documents were seized and the journal’s bank account was frozen, making it impossible for the journal to pay printers costs of the new issue. On 23 and 27 October, Belarusian TV covered the case, denouncing the books as “extremist”.
The BAJ is providing information on how best to voice support for Arche. Eurozine will be petitioning the Belarusian authorities on behalf of its partners and readers; updates to follow on the Eurozine website.