Another black day for Belarusian civil society and journalism

The Minsk Regional Court today announced the verdict to philosopher and Belsat TV anchorman Uladzimir Matskevich.

The trial was held behind closed doors.

Philosopher, methodologist and public figure Uladzimir Matskevich. Photo: Pavel Khadzinski. Source: /

On Wednesday, June 22, Uladzimir Matskevich spoke his last word in court.

Belarusian philosopher and methodologist, host of the program “Conversation” on Belsat TV, Uladzimir Matskevich was detained on August 4, 2021 and is held in pre-detention center #1 in Minsk. The philosopher is charged under three articles of the Criminal Code: “establishment and management of an extremist formation,” “participation in mass riots,” and “insulting Lukashenka”. His trial began on June 9.

Uladimir Matskevich was declared a political prisoner on August 6, 2021. In protest against the passive course of the investigation, the philosopher went on a hunger strike on February 4, 2022, which lasted 13 days and caused a significant reaction. He stopped the hunger strike after a serious deterioration of his health and a subsequent meeting with an investigator.

On June 23rd, a Minsk court heard the criminal case against Mark Bernstein, a political prisoner and an author of Wikipedia. Human rights activists report that the prosecutor requested three years of freedom restriction for him.

The sentence will be announced tomorrow, June 24, at 9:45 a.m.

Mark Bernstein. Photo: viasnanazirae / Telegram

The case is being heard by judge Anastasia Asipchyk. The political prisoner was detained on March 11, 2022, by special police. A photo of him was published on their Telegram channel with the caption: “This man is spreading anti-Russian fakes.” Bernstein was sentenced to 15 days in jail, then a criminal case was opened against him under Part 1 Article 342 of the Criminal Code (“Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them”).

Mark Bernstein is a well-known Wikipedia author and entrepreneur. He is known worldwide as Pessimist2006, the outstanding editor of Wikipedia. Bernstein is one of the “top 50 best authors in the Russian language”. Since June 14, 2008, he has made more than 200,000 edits to various articles.

A court hearing in the case of political prisoner journalist Katsyaryna Andreyeva, who was charged with treason against the state, will begin on July 4th, according to the journalist’s husband Ihar Ilyash.

The case will be heard by Homiel Regional Court in a closed session.

Katsyaryna Andreyeva. Photo: Belsat

Katsyaryna Andreyeva has been behind bars since November 15, 2020. In February 2021, she was sentenced to two years in prison for broadcasting the brutal dispersal of Raman Bandarenka memory event and the destruction of the public memorial by security forces. The political prisoner was serving her sentence in the penal colony #4 in Homiel and is scheduled to be released on September 5, 2022. But this year, on February 10, she was suddenly transferred to the Homiel pre-trial detention center. For 55 days, her relatives didn’t know her status and her case.

On April 7th, it emerged that Katsyaryna Andreyeva was charged under part 1 of article 356 of the Criminal Code (“Treason against the state”). She faces from 7 to 15 years in prison.

The basis of her charges is still unknown.

Alena Ruvina /