TUT.BY employees accused of inciting hostility, the Investigative Committee reports. If one is found guilty under this article, they may face up to 12 years in prison.
“The Main Investigation Department of the Belarusian Investigative Committee has instituted criminal proceedings against officials and employees of Tut.By Media and other persons under Part 3 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (‘Incitement of racial, national, religious or other social hatred or strife committed by a group persons’),” the statement reads.
On May 18, Belarusian security officers descended upon the offices of the popular media platform across the country, as well as to its editors’ places. On the same day, the authorities blocked access to tut.by news portal. A criminal case was launched against TUTBY Media company officials under Part 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code (‘large-scale tax evasion’). 15 persons were taken into custody or placed under house arrest.
Eleven of them remain behind bars:
Hoster.by вirector Syarhei Pavalishau spent more than three months in pre-trial detention, but on 1 September, he was released. Yuliya Charnyauskaya, the widow of TUT.BY founder Yury Zisser and a well-known Belarusian cultural studies scholar), is under house arrest’. Iryna Kastsyuchenka, a former lawyer of the company, and Katsyaryna Tkachenka, a TUT.BY Media lawyer, are known not to be held in a detention centre now. As of 1 June, there were reports that some restrictions were imposed on the two women, but no further details were provided.
In mid August, Tsentralny district court of Minsk considered a summons from the Belarusian Interior Ministry and recognised the information products of TUT.by and Zerkalo.io portals as ‘extremist materials’. Both the content of the sites and posts on Telegram, TikTok, Twitter, Viber, OK.ru, and Vk.ru and logos of TUT.by and its mirror site Zerkalo.io were listed as ‘extremist.’