The investigators have decided to continue keeping the arrestees in the TUT.BY case in prison. The term of their being behind bars was extended for another two months, until September 18, Zerkalo.io reports.
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. According to the official information, 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 (including TUT.BY editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava) or placed under house arrest (e.g.Yuliya Charnyauskaya, the widow of TUT.BY founder Yury Zisser and a well-known Belarusian cultural studies scholar).
Meanwhile, there is still no detailed information about the criminal case or the procedural actions against the defendants.
Moreover, a Minsk court is now considering another case against TUT.BY at the request of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After the portal was blocked, the media outlet has been publishing its materials only on social media platforms. Referring to the evaluation conducted by the Republican Expert Commission, the officials asked to recognise information products on tut.by website and its social media profiles (Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, VK) as ‘extremist’ and bar access to them.
The Belarusian human rights community has recognised the arrested TUT.by contributors as political prisoners.