The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has made a list of media workers who are facing heavy sentencing over criminal cases. There are nine names on it; five of them are Belsatters’ names.
Six journalists are charged with ‘organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order’ (Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code). The maximum penalty under the article is three years of imprisonment.
Belsat TV contributors Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava) and (presumably) Darya Chultsova are among them. The two girls were detained in mid November 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. Andreyeva is known to have been arrested for two months.
“Katsyaryna did not admit guilt and remains silent. The police searched the apartment of her relatives, where she is registered, but did not find or seize anything,” the statement reads. According to the police, no tools, objects or documents related to the criminal case have been found.
On November 1, Belsatters Dzmitry Krauchuk and Artsyom Bahaslauski were detained and then fined for ‘taking part in an unauthorised mass event’ (Art. 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences). It should be noted that the two reporters showed up at the protest rally to perform their journalistic duties. Similarly, cameraman Dzmitry Soltan (Buyanau) was grabbed and severely beaten by the police on the same day, his camera and phone were seized. Later, he got a 10-day jail term. Now the three men are also accused of ‘preparing actions grossly violating public order’; so is their colleague, Novy Chas photographer Dzmitry Dzmitryeu.
Another three journalists – Katsyaryna Barysevich (tut.by), Yahor Martsinovich (Nasha Niva), Syarhei Satsuk (ej.by) – are suspects in criminal cases under ‘violating medical privacy ’, ‘libel’, and ‘bribery’ articles, respectively.