Hrodna: New charges brought against imprisoned journo Dzyanis Ivashyn

Aleh Varanetski, the head of the KGB investigation department in Hrodna region, informed Volha Ivashyna of levelling two charges against her husband.

On September 2, Dzyanis Ivashyn was accused of a ‘less serious’ crime and a ‘grievous’ crimes, the officer said in a written reply to Ivashyna’s request. According to him, Dzyanis Ivashyn’s being in custody may be extended for 8 months and 28 days.

There is every likelihood that when mentioning ‘a less serious crime’ the authorities refer to Article 365 of the Criminal Code (‘interference in the activities of a police officer’), under the journalist was detained. But there is no information about the ‘grievous crime’ Ivashyn has been accused of.

“I have only one question on the back of this so called reply: if the comrades investigators make no doubt about in their actions, their position on the charges filed, why do they have a problem with revealing what they accuse Dzyanis of?” Volha Ivashyna wonders in her post on Facebook.

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Dzyanis Ivashyn, a Hrodna-based journalist contributing to Informnapalm OSINT community and the Novy Chas newspaper, was detained on March, 12. On the same day, the officers of the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) raided his flat in Hrodna as well as his parents’ place.

On the back of post-election protests in Belarus, Novy Chas published the investigative report by Ivashyn in which he said that a number of former soldiers of the Ukrainian special forces unit Berkut were taking part in the brutal crackdown on Belarusian protesters. In 2014, pro-Yanukovych Berkut riot police were tainted by killings and torture of Euromaidan defenders. When the unit was disbanded, many Berkutters fled to Russia and Belarus, where some of them were spotted in dispersing peaceful rallies, Ivashyn stated.

On March 24, the Belarusian human rights community recognised Ivashyn as a political prisoner. According to human rights defenders, Ivashyn’s actions were a non-violent exercise of the freedom to seek and disseminate information, which falls under the protection of Art. 19 of the ICCPR and cannot be classified as ‘influencing a police officer’ in order to ‘change the nature of his lawful activities’.

In June, it became known that Dzyanis Ivashyn who was earlier placed in a disciplinary cell underwent a cardiac seizure there.

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