Board Chairman of the National Public TV and Radio Broadcasting Company Zurab Alasania has reported on the detention in Belarus of the correspondent UA: Ukrainian radio Pavlo Sharoiko.
“A correspondent of UA:Ukrainian Radio, a citizen of Ukraine, Pavlo Sharoiko, has been detained in Belarus. The embassy of Belarus is still dodging our request,” Interfax Ukraine quotes Alasania.
He also said that according to his own unofficial information in Belarus, Sharoiko was charged with ‘espionage’, a standard charge for foreign correspondents.
According to UA: Ukrainian radio, Pavlo Sharoiko has not contacted them over the last two weeks; his colleagues’ attempts to get in toch with him gave no result.
“We do not comment on this information,” Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn, Spokesman for the Belarusian KGB, told tut.by.
The office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights has called the situation ‘alarming’ and promised to do their best to release the journalist.
“This situation will pose a very serious threat, since it will be the second time that a Ukrainian journalist has been actually grabbed and accused of spying in another state without paying attention that a person is only performing their journalistic duties. Firstly, it is the lack of respect for the profession; secondly, it is actually taking hostage the citizen of Ukraine, which is obviously aimed at some political bargaining with Ukraine. In fact, people are used as hostages. At the moment, we are having no exact information, but we will address the Foreign Ministry. Unfortunately, there is no commissioner for human rights in Belarus, therefore the situation is a bit complicated. We will ask them whether they are not going to deliver him to the Russian Federation, as it was with Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Hryb. I think if we and the MFA work fast, the situation may be settled,” Mykhaylo Chaplyha, Ukraine’s Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, said.