Belsat reporter wanted as criminal. His children too

A notice was recently posted in front of the police headquarters in Hlybokaye, Belarus, declaring that Belsat journalist Zmitser Lupach is wanted as a criminal despite not having been convicted. The police are also pursuing his children, Valiantsin and Katsyaryna. Furthermore, the journalist’s second daughter, Svyatlana, is already in custody. These developments were reported by the banned Belarusian Association of Journalists.

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Zmitser Lupach in front of the court building in Hlybokaye.

The list displayed in front of the police station was titled “Criminals.” However, it’s important to note that most of these people have not been proven guilty. They are actually opponents of Alyaksandr Lukashenka‘s regime who could not be apprehended and convicted because they left the country.

One of our colleagues, Zmitser Lupach, has been accused of evading investigators and charged under Article 351-4 (part 1) of the Penal Code. This particular article pertains to the recruitment and involvement of individuals in extremist activities and providing training and other forms of support for such activities.

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On the informative board in front of the police headquarters in Hlybokaye, Zmitser, Katsyaryna, and Valantsin Lupach were named wanted criminals.
Photo: baj. media

Zmitser Lupach is a correspondent from Hlybokaye for independent media outlets in Belarus, such as the Catholic Press and Belsat. Our readers highly appreciate his reports on the history of the November and January Uprisings in the Vilnius Governorate, the so-called Eastern Borderlands of the Second Polish Republic, the Belarusian national awakening, and the activities of the Border Protection Corps near Hlybokaye.

He is a journalist who has been exposing violations of residents’ rights by the authorities of Hlybokaye and the Vitsebsk region for several years. He has been fined and arrested multiple times for his activities. Before the mass protests and repression of 2020, he was the most frequently convicted Belsat journalist for his work.

Due to his heart condition and the risk of death in captivity, he was compelled to leave Belarus in July 2021, as a criminal case was filed against him for his professional activities. In December 2023, the police searched his apartment in Hlybokaye and his city cottage, which he inherited from his parents.

Zmitser Lupach lighting a candle on the grave of Polish soldiers who died defending Lyntup in 1919. November 2020.

At the same time, several arrests and searches were carried out in the Vitebsk region as part of a criminal case against the creators of a Belsat TV reportage. The Belarusian regime labeled our channel as an extremist organization. Zmitser Lupach does not rule out that the search of his properties was related to the case. However, he has not been informed of any suspicion of supporting extremism. He has not received any lawsuit, and no information indicates that he was convicted in absentia. Therefore, referring to him as a criminal, Lupach considers defamation.

On the same notification board in front of the police station in Hlybokaye are photos and personal information of the journalist’s children: son Valiantsin Lupach and daughter Katsyaryna Lupach. Both of them fled Belarus due to the repression of the Lukashenka regime. Valantsin has been accused of evading military service (part 1, article 435 of the Penal Code), and Katsyaryna has been charged with organizing and preparing activities that seriously violate public order or actively participating in them (part 1, article 342 of the Penal Code).

The journalist also has an older daughter named Svyatlana Lupach, who was detained in May last year and sentenced under Article 342 of the Penal Code. As a result, she was sent to Penal Colony No. 4 in Homiel. On January 19th of this year, her name was added to the extremist list, which means that she will be treated more harshly behind bars and have fewer rights. The Viasna Human Rights Defense Center has recognized her as a political prisoner.

The regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka is seeking revenge on the head of the Lupach family by forcing his children to emigrate and searching their apartments, according to a Belsat journalist.

In addition to the Lupach family, Lyudmila Bareyka was added to the Hlybokaye criminal list. She was also forced to emigrate from Belarus after inventing the anti-Lukashenka slogan “Stop the cockroach” during the 2020 election campaign.

pj/ by

Translated by PEV