Freelance journalist from Homiel and member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Kastus Zhukouski has left Belarus, taking his family – wife and daughter- with him.
The last straw that broke the patience of Kastus was an attack on his car on January 3. It took place on the Holmech-Brahin-Khoiniki road, baj.by reports.
According to Zhukouski, together with his companion Barys Anikeyeu, they stopped to check why the engine was overheating. Their car was immediately surrounded by four men who arrived in an SUV.
They sprayed some liquid into his face. Kastus was knocked down, his passport was snatched from him and damaged. Fortunately, it was no longer valid.
Neither Zhukouski nor Anikeyeu reported the incident to the police.
Based on the previous experience, Kastus saw no reason in doing it. After all, the police was unable to find the people who had threatened him before.
Thus, Zhukouski decided to leave the country.
“Now, in one of the countries of Western Europe, I am learning a foreign language and at the same time getting medical treatment in order to improve my health. I have my family with me, because I fear, above all, for the future of my daughter. She is growing up, you never know, what kind of provocation she can be subjected to in order to harm both me and my wife. I have no faith in the police, and even more so in the special services,” said Kanstantsin Zhukouski.
In recent years, freelance journalist Zhukouski was detained by the police numerous times to prevent his public and journalistic activities. In 2018 alone, about two dozen administrative protocols were drafted in relation to Zhukouski, allegedly for illegally producing media materials without accreditation for the Belsat TV channel. The total amount of fines imposed on Kastus was 12,432.5 BYN, which exceeds the average annual earnings in Belarus.
He was also repeatedly beaten by strangers, with tear gas squirted directly into his face. The police did not help Kastus in the search for the attackers. In protest, the journalist went on a hunger strike, and even sewed up his mouth.