Journalist Iryna Slaunikava, her husband Alyaksandr Loyka get 15-day jail terms again

On November 15, journalist Iryna Slaunikava and her husband Alyaksandr Loyka stood trial in Pershamayski district court of Minsk for the second time. On the night of November 14, their 15-day arrest ended; however, the married couple was not released, but re-detained.

Alyaksandr Loyka and Iryna Slaunikava. Photo: Аляксандр Лойка / Facebook

Iryna and Alyaksandr were accused of petty hooliganism under Art. 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences. Alyaksandr was tried first. On November 13 he ‘waved his arms, behaved aggressively, turned a deaf ear to the remarks made’, the case file reads.

In court, a police officer of Pershamayski district department of Interior witnessed against Alyaksandr Loyka. According to the witness, he ‘entered his colleague’s office on November 13 around 12.00, where the defendant was behaving aggressively, was rude to the colleague. We warned him that he was committing an offense, he did not react’. In turn, Alyaksandr said that he met the policeman in the courtroom for the first time ever.

Iryna Slaunikava appeared before court soon after him. During the hearing, Iryna has said that on November 13 she and her husband were almost released; all their belongings, passports and certificates were given back to them. However, after that they were taken by an officer of Pershamayski district department of Interior, who later drew new protocols upon them. At the police department, the spouses said that they were questioning the content protocols, but the officer replied that he did not care.

As a result, today judge Maksim Trusevich has found Iryna and Alyaksandr guilty and sentenced them to another 15 days in jail each.

Belarus authorities declare Belsat ‘extremist formation’

Iryna Slaunikava, a former Belsat TV representative in Belarus, and Alyaksandr Loyka were detained on the night of October 30 upon their arrival at Minsk Airport. Then they were taken to the detention centre on Akrestsin Street.

On November 1, they were charged under Art. 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offences over ‘distributing materials listed as ‘extremist’ on Facebook’ and ‘possessing extremist materials on three counts: in years of 2017, 2018 and 2019 for the purpose of their demonstration’ (in fact, what is meant here is the Facebook links to articles). JudgeMaksim Trusevich sentenced Iryna Slaunikava and Alyaksandr Loyka to 15 days in jail each.

On November 3, the Belarusian Interior Ministry recognised ‘the citizens united with the help of Belsat Internet resources’ as an extremist formation and banned them from ‘conducting their activity in the Republic of Belarus’.

On November 4, a number of female prisoners in the notorious detention centre were reported to have launched a hunger strike in protest against the harsh conditions of confinement. Iryna was among them.

Female detainees treated inhumanly: What we know about ‘hungerstriking’ cell in Akrestsin jail