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Belarusian investigators raid independent TV channel

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Investigators in Belarus have searched the office of a leading independent satellite channel as part of a criminal probe.

Tuesday’s search of the Belsat office in Minsk was the latest episode in an official crackdown on independent media in the ex-Soviet nation.

Belarus’ state investigative agency said the search was part of a slander probe looking into a Belsat report about the arrest of corruption suspects that proved erroneous.

Belsat, which broadcasts from Poland, said its computers were confiscated during the search. It said Belarusian authorities are trying to muzzle independent voices ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has ruled the ex-Soviet nation of 10 million for a quarter-century, cracking down on dissent and free media and maintaining Soviet-style control over its economy.

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