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Effort to shut down paper seen in filing of lawsuit

(CJES/IFEX) - On 9 June 2010, the Minsk Leninsky District Court heard a case filed by Sergei Khaneni, the pro-rector of Gomel State University, against "Norodnaya Volya" newspaper.

The lawsuit was filed over an article the paper reproduced from the website of the Govori Pravdu (Say the Truth) civil campaign. The plaintiff is seeking 45 million Belarusian rubles (approx. US$15,000) in compensation.

The paper's editor-in-chief, Svetlana Kalinkina, said the lawsuit constitutes an attempt by the authorities' to stop publication of the paper by way of economic sanctions.

"People who get raped or become disabled in the workplace get a mere $1,000 in moral damages, but an official can get thousands of dollars. It's politics. It's a huge amount of money for an independent newspaper which has no subsidies from the state. Such economic leverage can stop publication of the paper," Kalinkina said.

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