Photographer Ulad Hrydzin tried and punished for disobeying police during search

Photographer Ulad Hrydzin, who used to work for Radio Liberty, was detained on January 4, his apartment was ransacked. According to the court materials, the search was carried out as part of a large criminal case of “mass disorderly conduct”.

Photographer Ulad Hrydzin. Photo: Belsat

On January 7, a Minsk court started the trial against photographer Uladzimir Hrydzin. The case Article 24.3 of the Administrative Code is heard by Judge Tatsiana Palulekh, reports Radio Liberty.

Hrydzin was detained on January 4. When he disappeared, his relatives arrived at his home and saw that it was in shambles: things and garbage had been scattered on the floor. A laptop and a camera were missing from the apartment. The reasons for Hrydzin’s detention were not disclosed at the time, the photographer was taken to the Minsk detention center until the trial.

The photographer is accused of allegedly “disobeying the lawful orders” of police officer Sazonau and not letting law enforcers into his apartment during the search.

According to the materials of the court, a search warrant was issued as early as January 24. The search was conducted as part of a large criminal case on “mass riots” with “thousands of suspects”, conducted by investigator Dzyahtsevich and the Minsk department of the Investigative Committee.

Uladzimir Hrydzin was a winner of the “Belarus Press Photo” contest, his photos were repeatedly published in major foreign media, he worked in the thick of numerous protests. He worked for Radio Liberty until August 29, 2020, when the authorities stripped him of his accreditation allowing him to work for a foreign media outlet in Belarus.

In September 2020, Hrydzin was arrested for 11 days for allegedly participating in an “unsanctioned protest”. Photographer Alyaksandr Vasyukovich received the same punishment. Riot police seized them in a bar where they were processing pictures from the March of Heroes. The Belarusian media responded to their detention with a flash mob: they replaced the photos on the websites with a photo of a camera behind bars.

Three dozen journalists, photographers, and media workers are now behind bars in Belarus, including Radio Liberty journalist Aleh Hruzdilovich, freelance journalist Andrey Kuznechyk and freelance consultant Ihar Losik, author of channels “Belarus of the brain”. Many journalists were forced to leave Belarus after imprisonment or because of political persecution.

UPDATE: Ulad Hrydzin was punished with 13 days of arrest.