Journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova behind bars for 70 days

Belsat journalists and political prisoners Darya Chultsova and Katsyaryna Andreyeva have been behind bars for exactly 70 days. The girls are to be tried soon and face up to three years in jail.

Katsyaryna’s husband Ihar Ilyash says that the situation with correspondence has improved recently. Within a week alone, he received three letters from his wife – more than in the first month and a half of her imprisonment.

“Katsyaryna wil face the trial in good shape – both physically and emotionally. She writes that she is “somehow calm about her fate” and if necessary, she will endure everything. She comments with irony on what is happening,” says Ihar Ilyash.

While in jail Katsyaryna received many letters, including letters from abroad, from Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Brazil. She even received a letter on the official letterhead of the Romanian Ambassador to Belarus.

Our journalist also met with other political prisoners in prison. In Zhodzina pre-trial detention center she shared a cell with 19-year-old Renata Smirnova, arrested for participating in the protest march on November 1. We also had a chance to meet 18-year-old Sofia Malashevich, recently sentenced to two years in jail for spray-painting on security forces’ shields.

This week our colleagues also received letters from Darya Chultsova. She writes that she’s hanging in there, feeling good and hoping that no one else from the Belsat staff has been arrested.

“I miss my work,” writes Darya.

Darya reports that she also receives a lot of letters.

Belsat journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova have remained behind bars since November 15. They were detained for a live broadcast showing the brutal dispersal of the protest in memory of Raman Bandarenka and the destruction of the people’s memorial by security forces. Both women were charged under part 1 of Article 342 (“Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order”) of the Criminal Code. The human rights activists recognized the journalists as political prisoners.

The journalists are accused of taking an active part and even leading “group actions that grossly violate public order” with the help of the live broadcast, which resulted in the disruption of public transport. The investigation considers the peaceful protest on the ‘Change Square’ as “gross violation of public order”. The investigation states that the broadcast of the journalists resulted in the suspension of 13 bus routes, three trolleybus routes and three streetcar routes. The damage to SE “Minsktrans” was estimated at 11,562 rubles and 14 kopecks.

On January 11 the case materials were passed to Frunzenski Borough Court of Minsk. The date of the trial has not yet been set. For now Katsiaryna and Darya remain in Zhodzina pre-trial detention center.