On April 20, Minsk City Court considered an appeal against the sentence passed upon TUT.BY reporter Katsyaryna Barysevich.
As reported earlier, the Prosecutor General’s Office filed the appeal against a lower court’s ruling in the case of journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsyom Sarokin. According to the prosecution, the penalty imposed on Barysevich ‘does not correspond to the severity of the crime in view of its leniency’.
Today Minsk City Court has dismissed the prosecutor’s appeal; Katsyaryna Barysevich is to be released on May 19.
“As paradoxical as it may sound in the current situation, I feel relieved. We are happy that Katsya will be free at least on May, 19. In fact, it was hard to make any forecasts,” TUT.BY editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava told Belsat TV.
Katsyaryna Barysevich was not taken to court; she was participating in Tuesday’s hearing via video link from the remand prison in Zhodzina.
“We are glad that the previous sentence stands. We are going to coordinate our further actions with Katsyaryna,” her defence lawyers Mikhail Bandarchuk and Andrey Machalou said.
On March 2, Maskouski district court of Minsk passed a guilty verdict in the above mentioned case. Judge Svyatlana Bandarenka sentenced Katsyaryna Barysevich to six months of imprisonment in a penal colony and a fine of 2,900 rubles; Artsyom Sarokin got a two-year jail term with a one-year reprieve and a fine of 1,450 rubles. He was released in the courtroom.
Katsyaryna Barysevich and Artsyom Sarokin were arrested on November, 19 when the Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case over allegedly ‘violating medical privacy which entailed grave consequences’ (Art. 178-3). In her article about the tragic death of protester Raman Bandarenka, Barysevich referred to Sarokin, a doctor working at Minsk emergency care hospital. He gave her medical records which showed that there had been no alcohol in the blood of the victim. The Belarusian authorities, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, keep claiming that Bandarenka was drunk.
Notably, his mother allowed the publication of information about the death, including the data about the absence of alcohol in his blood. Raman Bandarenka’s murderers have not been found or identified yet. His family did not have any claims against the two defendants.