The Mahiliou police drew a protocol upon local ournalist Alina Skrabunova, accusing her of ‘illegal production of media products’ (Article 23.5 of the Code of Administrative Offences), the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) reports.
Notably, the authorities are going to hold Skrabunova liable for her commentary given to the Belsat TV news department, not for her journalistic activity.
Kastrychnitski district court judge Volha Krauchanka accepted the protocol made by police major Vasil Karniyenka. The judge does not take notice of the fact that the ‘offender’ was absent during drawing the protocol and her rights were not explained to her. Moreover, the police officer failed to put down the date of Skrabunova’s alleged violation.
In one-minute interview, the reporter described the search conducted by police in her flat on March 5. Then they confiscated Alina’s system unit, two laptops, two video cameras, mobile phones, pendrives and other things. The police did not leave her any official papers, e.g. a protocol of seizure of equipment.
The court is to hear the case on March, 31. Alina Skrabunova has been outside Belarus for over three weeks, Mahiliou law enforcement officers do not stop persecuting her. In March alone, the journalist was fined 10 times under the above mentioned Article 23.5; the fines imposed total to 7,540 rubles (nearly $2,900).