On September 3, Belsat TV lost contact with our Homiel-based contributor Larysa Shchyrakova.
When Łarysa Shchyrakova stopped answering phone calls on Thursday, the family and colleagues started looking for her. The journalist turned out to be in the police department, she is facing trial for ‘taking part in an unauthorised event’. However, the duty officer refused to give reasons for Larysa’s being in custody.
Earlier, Larysa Shchyrakova was taken to the police and informed of her allegedly committing a violation. She was accused of participating in the opposition’s Peace March in Homiel on August, 30. However, Shchyrakova was present at the protests as a journalist and performed her professional duties. On August 29, when she was reporting from the Women’s March, the police tried to detain the journalist, but the protesters defended her.
Larysa is a single mother to a 13-year-old son. During the interrogation, the police said the boy might be sent to orphanage. It is not the first time that the authorities have threatened to take the child away from Larysa. This time, the mother could not stand the pressure and lost consciousness. An ambulance took her to hospital; she was expected to stand trial today. Now she is being kept in the detention centre.
(UPD 20.00) A Homiel court has imposed a fine of 135 Belarusian rubles on Larysa Shchyrakova; she has been released. According to human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka, the police’s decision to place her under pre-trial arrest was illegal, because the Belarusian law does not allow taking such measures against female parents of minors.