Deutsche Welle correspondent Paulyuk Bykouski, whose home was searched by the Investigative Committee on August 8, will spend 72 hours in the detention centre in Minsk.
The same restriction was selected towards Alyaksei Zhukau, a journalist at the Belarusians and Market newspaper.
It should be recalled that at least 4 female journalists detained yesterday over the so-called BelTA case are being held in the detention centre in Akrestsin street.
On August 7, an unprecedented wave of media workers’ arrests started in Belarus.
After Iryna Akulovich, Head of state-controlled news agency BelTA, had reported ‘illegal access to their premium content’, the Belarusian Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case under the article ‘unauthorized access to computer information, made out of personal interest, which caused significant harm’. According to the authorities’ version, some employees of the above-mentioned media outlets have used another person’s password and got information owned by the Lukashenka mouthpiece over the past two years.
Tut.by journalists Halina Ulasik, Maryna Zolatava, Hanna Kaltyhina, Ulyana Babayed, Dzmitry Bobryk, Hanna Yermachonak and BelaPAN editors Tatsyana Karavyankova and Andrey Serada were also detained. Later Bobryk, Serada and Babayed were released, but the rest will reportedly have to spend three days behind bars.
“We consider that [the situation] a flagrant violation of freedom of expression and media freedom. In any case, the actions of law enforcement agencies seem excessive. Investigation of criminal cases should not affect the freedom and professional activities of the media. We are especially concerned by persecution of the media on the background of systematic violations of the right to disseminate information and intimidation of journalists through prosecution of BelaPAN founder Ales Lipai and Belsat TV journalists. We call for the immediate release of the detainees and ensuring access of other Tut.by and BelaPAN to their working places,” the Belarusian Association of Journalists said in today’s statement.
“Legislation must be respected but investigations do not always require arrests which should be used as an ultimate tool. We therefore call on the Belarusian investigative authorities to ensure rapid and transparent investigation. We also call to liberate all the arrested journalists,” Daniel Holtgen, Spokesperson for the Secretary General of Council of Europe, said on Tuesday.