Detained journo Ihar Ilyash in Baranavichy prison. Family could not get info on his whereabouts for long

Belsat TV journalist Ihar Ilyash. Photo:

It is still unknown where detained Belsat journalist Ihar Ilyash is being held.

On Tuesday evening, he did not come to a meeting with colleagues, his phone was unavailable. At 11:55 pm his brother informed the editorial office that Ihar Ilyash was taken to the detention centre in Akrestsin Street. In Ihar’s flat, the brother found a protocol of seizing a computer, a mobile phone and other things.

On November 25, it became known that Ilyash was charged with ‘participating in an unauthorised mass event’ (Art. 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences). He was tried in Tsentralny district court of Minsk; judge Alena Shabunya sentenced the journalist to 15 days of administrative arrest for ‘taking part in a picket on October, 26’. On that day, a joint march of students and pensioners was held in Minsk. At that time, however, Ihar was working on his articles; he did not show up at the rally even as a reporter.

March of Pensioners, Students and Health Workers in Minsk

Early in the morning, Ihar’s relatives arrived at the detention centre in Akrestsin Street to hand over a food parcel and personals to him. Later, however, it turned out that he was not on the lists, and the things were not accepted. He might have been transferred to another detention facility. Ihar Ilyash is not being kept in remand prisons of Zhodzina, Baranavichy and Mahiliou. The family has repeatedly contacted the Minsk police, but no information on his whereabouts was given to them.

UPD at 21:00 (Minsk time): Ihar Ilyash has been ‘found’ in the prison in the town of Baranavichy.

Ihar Ilyash’s wife, Katsyaryna Andreyeva, was arrested along with her colleague Darya Chultsova immediately after their livestreaming the crackdown on a peaceful rally on November, 15. She is accused of ‘organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order’ (Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code). If found guilty, the Belsat TV reporter may face up to three years of imprisonment. On November 24, Belarusian human rights watchdogs recognised Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova as political prisoners.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), 390 media workers have faced persecution since the election day, 77 of them were sentenced to administrative arrest.

Criminal charges under ‘public order’ case brought against five Belsat contributors