On Tuesday afternoon, Minskers held an action of solidarity with journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich, doctor Artsyom Sarokin, as well as with persecuted media workers and human rights activists, TUT.BY reports.
A group of girls wearing black clothes and carrying white flowers in their hands marched along Kastrychnitskaya Street in downtown Minsk. They also had medical masks with black crosses on them, which served as a reminder of another crackdown on the freedom of speech in our country.
“You may try to take away our voice, force us to be silent, but you will never take away our individuality, our souls, our solidarity and sense of inner freedom, our faith in righteousness, you will never change the facts by silencing the truth. Truth and love will always be stronger than lies and violence,” the protesters stated.
On March 2, Maskouski district court of Minsk passed a guilty verdict in the case of TUT.BY journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsyom Sarokin. Judge Svyatlana Bandarenka sentenced Barysevich to six months of imprisonment in a penal colony and a fine of 2,900 rubles; Sarokin got a two-year jail term with a one-year reprieve and a fine of 1,450 rubles. He was released in the courtroom.
Katsyaryna Barysevich and Artsyom Sarokin were arrested on November, 19 when the Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case over allegedly ‘violating medical privacy which entailed grave consequences’ (Art. 178-3). In her article about the tragic death of protester Raman Bandarenka, Barysevich referred to Sarokin, a doctor working at Minsk emergency care hospital. He gave her medical records which showed that there had been no alcohol in the blood of the victim. The Belarusian authorities claim that Bandarenka was drunk.
Notably, his mother allowed the publication of information about the death, including the data about the absence of alcohol in his blood.
Raman Bandarenka’s murderers have not been found or identified yet. His family did not have any claims against the two defendants.