Journalist Alyaksandrau and his girlfriend accused of paying fines for protesters

Andrei Alyaksandrau. Photo: Andrei Alyaksandrau / Facebook

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus commented on the detention of journalist Andrei Alyaksandrau and his girlfriend Iryna Zlobina. They are accused of financing the protests.

Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Henadz Kazakevich said that journalist and media manager Andrei Alyaksandrau and his girlfriend Iryna Zlobina financed the protest actions that took part in the “riots”, including by paying fines and receipts for detention in isolation wards.

According to the police, they were “detained within the framework of establishing channels for financing illegal mass events.”

They allegedly received money from the By_help Solidarity Fund. In total, Alyaksandrau and Zlobina paid more than 250 fines, the Interior Ministry said.

It is noted that the money was left in stashes. More than 100 thousand dollars and euros were left this way.

Earlier, the lawyer of Andrei Alyaksandrau, Volha Karpushonak, said that a measure of restraint in the form of imprisonment for two months was chosen against the journalist, BelaPAN reports.

“The decision on the measure of restraint was taken by the Minsk office of IC with the sanction of the prosecutor’s office. But this does not mean that it cannot be changed, she said. “In the near future, Andrei should be transferred to a pre-trial detention center on Valadarski Street.”

The lawyer intends to visit his client on Monday, January 18.

“Paying fines is not a crime”

Alyaksei Lyavonchyk, one of the leaders of the BY_help initiative, made an official comment on the charges brought against Andrei Alyaksandrau.

“I personally and BY_help’s initiative do not comment on the sound recordings of Andrei Alyaksandrau’s statements, which could have been obtained as a result of torture, threats and intimidation. The lawyer’s access to him was prohibited for a long time and remains restricted. We believe that the publication of such a sound recording is an attempt to put pressure on public opinion and violates human rights. At the same time, we declare that: any payment of fines is not a crime, any accusations of any person that this is a crime are absurd. We hope to see Andrei Alyaksandrau free soon,” said Mr Lyavonchyk.

  • Alyaksandrau was detained on January 12 as a suspect in a criminal case initiated under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (“Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them”). They also detained Alyaksandrau’s girlfriend, Iryna Zlobina.
  • On January 14, a search was carried out in the office of BelaPAN, where Alyaksandrau worked as deputy director in 2014-18. Some of the equipment and data storage were seized. The search warrant also included article 293 of the Criminal Code (“Mass riots”).