On August 18, 2021 searches were conducted at the independent information agency BelaPAN [It was recognized as an extremist formation under the KGB (the Committee for State Security) decision in November, 2021
] as well as at homes of some of its employees and the former director of BelaPAN. After that, editor-in-chief and director of BelaPAN Iryna Leushina was detained and taken to the detention facility in Okrestina St. in Minsk. After 10 days, Leushina was transferred to SIZO-1 [pre-trial detention center].
The Investigative Committee initially stated that the detainments were on suspicion of crimes committed under Article 342 Part 1 (Organisation and active participation in actions in gross violation of public order) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. However on 27 August, the Investigative Committee communicated opening a criminal case of tax evasion (under Article 243 Part 2 of the Criminal Code of Belarus). Media manager and journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau
, detained 12 January 2021, was reported a person of interest in the same case.
On October 6, 2022 at Minsk regional court a sentence was given on "the BelaPAN case", in which Iryna Leushina was involved. Iryna Leushina was accused of creation and administration of an extremist formation. She was condemned to 4 years of general regime colony. The legal proceedings were closed.
On January 20, 2023, the Ministry of Internal Affairs added Leushina to the list of persons involved in extremist activities.
The journalist has been recognized as political prisoner.