Belarus journos solidary with NN chief editor suspected of libel on top police officer

Yahor Martsinovich taken to Investigative Committee after search. 23 September 2020. Photo:

On September 23, Yahor Martsinovich, editor-in-chief of the Belarusian news portal Nasha Niva (, was questioned by the Investigative Committee and placed under three-day arrest.

His flat was searched by the Interior Ministry’s security department. After the raid, it became known that Yahor Martsinovich is a suspect in the criminal case opened under Art. 188 (libel).

“In the criminal prosecution of Yahor Martsinovich, we see manifestation of censorship and abuse of the legal norms aimed at restriction of the freedom of speech. We demand the immediate release of Yahor Martsinovich and dismissal of the criminal proceedings,” the statement by the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) reads.

Earlier, Nasha Niva interviewed Uladz Sakalouski, one of the ‘DJs of change’, who says that a top police official battered and threatened him in the notorious prison in Akrestsin street in Minsk. When released, Sakalouski identified the attacker as Deputy Interior Minister Alyaksandr Barsukou. Notably, on August 14, Barsukou showed up at the prison to assure the detainees’ relatives who gathered there that no one was beaten or tortured.

As reported earlier, four media workers who contribute to Belsat TV are behind bars at the moment: Ales Lyubyanchuk, Dzyanis Hancharenka, Pavel Patapau and Yauhen Merkis.