Belsat TV investigative journalist Ihar Ilyash gets 15-day jail term

Belsat TV journalist Ihar Ilyash. Photo:

On Tuesday evening, Belsat TV and relatives lost contact with Minsk-based journalist Ihar Ilyash.

Starting 7 pm the journalist’s phones have been unavailable. He did not come to a meeting with colleagues. In Ihar’s flat, his brother found a protocol of seizing a computer, a mobile phone and other things. The document does not shed light on the reason of detention.

At 11:55 pm the brother informed the editorial office that Ihar Ilyash was being held in the detention centre in Akrestsin Street.

On Wednesday afternoon, it has become known that Ilyash is charged with ‘participating in an unauthorised mass event’ (Art. 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences). It is not ruled out that he will be tried today in Tsentralny district court of Minsk. Notably, the journalist has not been involved in covering the recent protest rallies.

(UPD) Judge Alena Shabunya has sentenced Ihar Ilyash to 15 days of administrative arrest for ‘taking part in a picket on October, 26’. On that day, a joint march of students and pensioners was held in Minsk. At that time, however, Ihar was working on his articles; he did not show up at the rally even as a reporter.

Ihar Ilyash’s wife, Katsyaryna Andreyeva, was arrested along with her colleague Darya Chultsova immediately after their livestreaming the crackdown on a peaceful rally on November, 15. She is accused of ‘organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order’ (Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code). If found guilty, the Belsat TV reporter may face up to three years of imprisonment.

On November 24, Belarusian human rights watchdogs recognised Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova as political prisoners.

Belsat, TUT.BY journos Andreyeva, Chultsova, Barysevich recognised as prisoners of conscience