Criminal case opened against Brest news editor for ‘insulting official’

Virtual Brest editor. Photo:

Andrey Kukharchyk, the editor-in-chief of the Virtual Brest website, has been charged with insulting a government official, the Belarusian Interior Ministry reports.

Apart from journalism, the 48-year-old man ‘was engaged in destructive protest activities’, the representatives of the ministry say.

“In particular, he created the Telegram chat Discussing Dangerous Brest, in which he spread extremist materials and published abusive remarks about the deputies,” the statement reads.

As reported earlier, Leninski district court of Brest recognised the above mentioned Telegram chat as ‘extremist’.

Disabled prisoner Hundar tortured in jail, relatives say

In June, Maskouski district court of Brest considered an administrative case on recognising an ‘information product’ by Virtual Brest website as extremist; the authorities referred to the publication about disabled political prisoner Uladzimir Hundar. As an illustration to the text, the editors used a photo of Hundar wearing clothes with national ornament. Suprisingly, the representatives of the notorious GUBAZiK/GUBOPiK claimed that the ornament contained a swastika and suggested that the court list the article as an extremist material.

Then the court upheld the claim and found the publication extremist, but unfortunately, Virtual Brest editor Andrey Kukharchyk’s misadventure continued. A few weeks later, a new administrative protocol was drawn up against him: he was charged under Part 2 of Art. 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offences (‘distribution of information products included in the Republican List of Extremist Materials’). Again, the accusation was linked to the article containing a photo of Uladzimir Hundar. On August 19, Maskouski district court found Kukharchyk guilty, imposed a fine of 290 rubles on him and ruled to confiscate the computer equipment, with the help of which the defendant ‘had committed the offense by distributing the photo’.

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