Belarus: Joining banned Telegram channels will land you in prison

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Belarusian law enforcement has published a list of Telegram channels that are now considered extremist and warned people that merely joining them would be punishable by up to seven years of imprisonment.

The announcement follows the approval of a new resolution titled “On Measures to Counter Extremism and Rehabilitate Nazism” by Belarus’ Council of Ministers, giving ultimate crackdown powers to the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GUBOP) agency.

GUBOP warns that merely subscribing and reading any content in these extremist Telegram channels would constitute a violation of Article 361-1 of the country’s Criminal Code, which is punishable by up to seven years of deprivation of freedom.

Part of the Telegram channel ban list published by GUBOP

The agency published a list of over 100 banned channels (1, 2) on a Telegram channel operated by the law enforcement agency

This announcement was followed by a wave of mass un-subscription from the banned channels by terrified users who feared legal trouble.

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