Belarusian human rights watchdogs awarded TUT.BY journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich, Belsat reporter Katsyaryna Andreyeva and camerawoman Darya Chultsova in the nomination ‘Journalist of the Year’ for protection of human rights values.
The ceremony of awarding the Human Rights Community National Prize takes place on December 10, the day of adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the event, Be;arusian human rights defenders reveal the names of the winners in the nominations ‘Journalist of the Year’, ‘Human Rights Campaign / Initiative of the Year’ and ‘Human Rights Defender of the Year.
At the moment,the three Belarusian journalists are behind bars.
In mid November, a Belsat TV crew (journalist Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava) and camerawoman Darya Chultsova were detained immediately after their livestreaming and covering the brutal crackdown on protesters who gathered in the so-called Square of Change, one of the offstreet yards in Charvyakou Street in Minsk. Earlier, Minsker Raman Bandarenka had been abducted from that yard and beaten to death.
Chultsova and Andreyeva are accused of ‘organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order’ (Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code). If found guilty, the two girls who are now being held in Zhodzina prison may be sentenced to up to three years of imprisonment.
TUT.BY reporter Katsyaryna Barysevich was arrested on November, 19 after a criminal case over allegedly ‘violating medical privacy which entailed grave consequences’ (Art. 178-3) had been opened. In her article about the tragic death of Raman Bandarenka, Barysevich referred to doctor Artsyom Sarokin who gave her medical records which showed that there had been no alcohol in the blood of the victim. Its authenticity was later confirmed by Bandarenka’s mother. Government officials, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, keep claiming that Raman Bandarenka, who was beaten to death by unknown individuals on November 11, was in a state of intoxication. Both Barysevich and Sarokin were taken to the notorious KGB prison ‘Amerykanka’ in Minsk; notably, Bandarenka’s murderers have not been found or identified yet.
On November 24, Belarusian human rights activists recognised them as political prisoners.
It is an open secret that messages from outside give enourmous support and encouragement to a prisoner; that is why we urge our readers to send letters to the jailed journalists:
Кацярына Андрэева (Бахвалава): 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava): Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus
Дарʼя Чульцова: 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Darya Chultsova: Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus
Кацярына Барысевіч: Беларусь, 220030 г. Менск, вул. Валадарскага, д. 2. СІЗА № 1 / Katsyaryna Barysevich: Detention facility Nr 1, Valadarski Street 2, Minsk, 220030 Belarus
Don’t forget to enclose an empty envelope so that the girls could respond to your letter. Thank you for your unindifference!