Reporter, doctor who gave details about Bandarenka’s death still in jail

Katsyaryna Barysevich.

Two months have already passed since TUT.BY journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich was arrested. She has not been released today, the measure of restraint has not been changed; it means that the woman continues to be held in the remand prison.

It should be noted that no official document on extending the detention period has been published.

Another defendant in the case, health professional Artsyom Sarokin, also remains in custody.

TUT.BY reporter Katsyaryna Barysevich was arrested on November, 19 after the Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case over allegedly ‘violating medical privacy which entailed grave consequences’ (Art. 178-3) had been opened. If found guilty, she may be sentenced to up to three years of imprisonment.

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In her article about the tragic death of Minsker Raman Bandarenka, Barysevich referred to doctor Artsyom Sarokin who gave her medical records which showed that there had been no alcohol in the blood of the victim. Its authenticity was later confirmed by Bandarenka’s mother. Government officials, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, claim that Raman Bandarenka, who was beaten to death by unknown individuals on November 11, was in a state of intoxication.

Neither Sarokin nor Barysevich had been prosecuted before, the both Belarusian citizens have a permanent place of residence in the country as well as full-time employment, Their employers and colleagues gave excellent references to them. The judge and investigators are well aware of Artsyom Sarokin’s being a father of three and Katsyaryna Barysevich’s raising a minor daughter alone, but still, the strictest restraint measure (incarceration) was applied.

Belarusian and international human rights watchdogs have recognised Sarokin and Barysevich political prisoners. They consider the persecution to be politically motivated.

Notably, Bandarenka’s murderers have not been found or identified yet. No criminal case has been initiated over his death either. His family does not have any claims against the arrested journalist and doctor.

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