Widow of TUT.BY founder faces charge. Authorities bar lawyer from revealing what client is accused of

A charge has been brought against Yuliya Charnyauskaya, the widow of popular Belarusian news portal TUT.BY founder Yury Zisser.

However, it is unknown under which article she is accused; as Yuliya’s defence lawyer had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, she is not allowed to inform even the closest relatives of the aspects of the case.

“My mother has faced a charge. One may not specify either article or any other terms. The lawyer asked them: “[Yuliya’s] daughter keeps worrying about her, what details can she be provided with?” They answered: “None”. But mom is a hard nut to crack; as she anticipated such twists, her reaction to the news was normal. I hope she continues to be strong and brave. And all of us also should do so!” Yauheniya Charnyauskaya wrote on Facebook.

Popular media outlet TUT.BY in crosshairs: Raids on offices, journos’ homes, website blocked

On May 18, Belarusian security officers descended upon TUT.BY offices across the couuntry, as well as to editors’ places. 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 are known to have been detained as part of the criminal case opened against TUTBY Media company; the following 12 remain behind bars:

  • Maryna Zolatava, TUT.BY editor-in-chief

  • Volha Loyka, a TUT.BY editor

  • Alena Talkachova, a TUT.BY journalist

  • Lyudmila Chekina, TUTBY Media director general

  • Iryna Rybalka, TUTBY Media deputy director

  • Alyaksandr Dayneka, TUTBY chief technical officer

  • Anzhela Asad, TUTBY Media chief accountant

  • Maryia Novik, TUTBY Media deputy chief accountant

  • Ala Lapatka, TUTBY Media chief engineer

  • Andrey Audzeyeu, a manager at Publisher Box company

  • Syarhei Pavalishau, Hoster.by director

  • Darya Danilava, director of the TUT.BY-related startup Rocket Data

On the same day, the well-known Belarusian cultural studies scholar Yuliya Charnyauskaya.was taken to the reception room of Minsk clinical hospital Nr 1; a police officer was keeping a close watch on her even there. Then the woman, who went through through a hypertensive crisis, was discharged; the police escorted her. For two days, her whereabouts was unknown; on May 20, she was reported to have been interrogated by the Department of Financial Investigations and then placed under house arrest.

Freedom of speech locked up: How many Belarusian media workers are now behind bars?