Kalinkavichy district court has imposed a fine (about $360) on independent journalist Kastus Zhukouski for illegal production and distribution of media products, but in fact – for contribution to foreign mass media without having accreditation (Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code).
The basis for legal action was the TV story about the beating of a young man from Zhitkavichy by football fans from Kalinkavichy. It was aired on TV channel Belsat:
Kastus Zhukouski failed to appear in court on January 14, because it was not until the previous evening when he was informed of the trial. Judge Lyudmila Savastsyanava judge gave a sentence in his absence: the freelance journalist is to be Br 7.35 mln fined. On January 18, Mr Zhukouski received a court order by mail.
“The sentence was predictable. The authorities made the country bankrupt and are trying to put off its agony. My colleagues and I [Belsat TV] are telling the truth, and this is not what the regime wants to hear,” the contributor stressed.
Kastus Zhukouski is going to appeal against the decision in the UN.
In total, at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, Zhukouski was summoned to three police stations – in Kalinkavichy, Karma and Vetka. In all the cases, the police spoke about drafting a protocol:
On January 20, Zhukouski is to be tried in Karmyanski district court for ‘illegal’ covering a situation of the locals who were cut off from water for a long period of time:
Last year Zhukouski became a “champion” among freelance journalist sentenced to fines – they amounted to Br 31.5 mln. On the basis of the police protocols, the district courts fined him six times.
On 13 January, the same article was used to fine another journalist from Homiel — Larysa Shchyrakova (Br 4.62 mln).