Vitsebsk blogger prosecuted for ‘insulting government official’

A criminal case has been brought against Vitsebsk video blogger Volha Zhurauskaya for publicly insulting a representative of the authorities (Article 369 of the Criminal Code). Ms Zhurauskaya faces up to three years of freedom restriction,” reports Vitsebskaya Viasna.

The criminal case against Volha Zhurauskaya was opened at a police department of Vitsebsk. The blogger is accused of violating Article 369 of the Criminal Code. According to the law, for public insult of a representative of the authorities the court can sentence her to three years in jail.

The criminal case was launched over a video clip posted on Volha Zhurauskaya’s channel. Later under the video there appeared a comment with the negative assessment of the senior inspector of law enforcement from Vitsebsk, police major Andrei Shchahlou. According to the police, Zhurauskaya “publicly insulted the latter as a representative of the authorities in connection with the performance of his official duties”.

The blogger believes that Shchahlou was insulted by a verse in the comments under the video. However, Zhurauskaya claims that she didn’t publish the comment. In December 2019 the blog “Snimat razresheno” on Youtube was hacked and Zhurauskaya had no access to her account for some time. Just at that time an offensive comment appeared. Later it disappeared, but Volha claims that she had nothing to do with it.

The police initially started an investigation under Article 189 of the Criminal Code (Insult). Later a criminal case was opened under Article 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting a representative of the authorities).