The Minsk-based private newspaper Narodnaya Volya has been hit with four more libel suits over its publication of a list of signatories of a statement in support of the Will of the People movement. Editor Iosif Seredich learned about the new lawsuits on May 20 during his meeting held in the court of Minsk’s Leninsky district in connection with five claims filed earlier, said the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ).
On May 16, the newspaper was notified that five workers of the Belaruskaly state-controlled company brought libel suits, each claiming 50 million rubels ($23,000) in damages.
The libel action stems from an article under the headline "Such is the Will of the People" published in the April 23 issue of the newspaper. The article listed hundreds of Belaruskaly workers who allegedly signed an appeal in support of the opposition movement "Will of the People."
The five plaintiffs denied signing that letter. One of them has reportedly withdrawn his claim. The new 5-million rubel ($2,300) claims were put in by four residents of the town of Glusk, who also say they have never signed the statement.
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