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Belarusian opposition website forced offline

© Photo : http://charter97.org/en/news/http://charter97.org/en/news/
http://charter97.org/en/news/ - Sputnik International
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Belarusian opposition struggles to bring online a leading opposition website Charter-97, which was shut down in a series of cyber attacks on Thursday and Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on its website.

Belarusian opposition struggles to bring online a leading opposition website Charter-97, which was shut down in a series of cyber attacks on Thursday and Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on its website.

The website's Editor-in-Chief Natalya Radina, who fled Belarus in early April and is currently in exile in Lithuania, said the attack began on Thursday.

"Anonymous individuals used a password that Radina believed they got from malware used on an editor's personal computer," CPJ quoted Radina as saying. "The saboteurs then logged on to the site's administrative section, deleted archives, and created a false news story."

The website's crew managed to restore most of the deleted archives when a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack followed. Radina said some materials could be lost forever.

"It was an unprecedented attack. The website is hacked, archives are deleted, false materials are posted. Obviously it was carried out by "specialists" from the KGB," Radina told BBC Russian.

At the moment, the Belarusian and Russian sections of the website offer the same content in Russian, all dated by midnight Thursday. The English section is empty, but old content can be accessed via the "Topics" section.

Radina, who received a status of political refugee in Lithuania, said she would ask the country's cyber police to conduct an investigation into the attacks.

A number of pro-opposition websites, including Russia-based "Belarusian partisan" and some pages in social networking sites, also went offline.

The attacks came days before a controversial law limiting online freedoms is to come into force. On January 6. Under the law, users will be unable to access a blacklist of 35 websites from internet cafes, libraries and other public places. Individual users are also entitled to request "filtered content".

The website and its crew have repeatedly complained about intimidations, threats, and arrests against its staff members. Is founder Aleh Byabenin was found dead in 2008. A probe into his death stated that it was a suicide, while his friends and coworkers insist it was a murder.

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