Jailed Belsat TV journo may stand trial soon, family says

The probe into Katsyaryna Andreyeva’s case might have been completed, her husband, investigative journalist Ihar Ilyash, surmised after reading the latest letter from the wife.

As Andreyeva’s defence lawyers had to sign gag orders, they have no right to inform anyone (even her relatives) about the course and details of the investigation. However, in the letter Ilyash received on Ianuary 9, the imprisoned journalist wrote that she was awaiting the transfer to Minsk.

“As it follows from the context of the letter, she talks about transporting her to court. It is quite logical: Katsyaryna was put in Zhodzina [remand prison] for the time of the investigation. As she has grounds to count on being transferred to Minsk, it means that the investigation has been over and one might expecte that she will be tried soon,” Ihar Ilyash said.

However, it has not been reported officially whether and when the transfer and the trial will take place. “I don’t even make any projections for the future. I am ready for anything. It is pretty hard to surprise me now,” Katsyaryna Andreyeva says in her letter.

Reporters Without Borders: Belarus is Europe’s most dangerous country for journalists

In mid November, Belsat TV journalist Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava) and camerawoman Darya Chultsova were detained 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 on Charvyakou Street in Minsk. Earlier, Minsker Raman Bandarenka had been abducted from that yard and beaten to death.

Chultsova and Andreyeva are accused of ‘organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order’ (Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code). If found guilty, the two girls may be sentenced to up to three years of imprisonment.

On November 24, Belarusian human rights activists recognised them (along with TUT.BY reporter Katsyaryna Barysevich) as political prisoners. It is an open secret that messages from outside give enourmous support and encouragement to a prisoner; that is why we urge our readers to send letters to the jailed journalists:

Кацярына Андрэева (Бахвалава): 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava): Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus

Дарʼя Чульцова: 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Darya Chultsova: Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus

Кацярына Барысевіч: Беларусь, 220030 г. Менск, вул. Валадарскага, д. 2. СІЗА № 1 / Katsyaryna Barysevich: Detention facility Nr 1, Valadarski Street 2, Minsk, 220030 Belarus

Don’t forget to enclose an empty envelope so that the girls could respond to your letter. Thank you for your unindifference!