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  • Aliaksandr Mantsevich, head of Rehijanalnaja Hazeta, receives four-year prison sentence and huge fine

    In his final words, Mantsevich spoke of his well-known ancestors, his life-long dedication to the newspaper, and his civic duties.

    “I hear my ancestors’ voices, I have never betrayed my homeland. I love my fellow citizens and the country of Belarus. While imprisoned, I was unable to erect a monument on my father’s grave before the anniversary of his death.

    I am not a vision­ary, but I believe that, even­tu­al­ly, a street will bear the name of Rehi­janal­na­ja Haze­ta, which bol­stered the Belaru­sian people’s stand­ing, addressed read­ers’ inter­ests, and report­ed the truth…

    I am not guilty of any­thing. It’s unfor­tu­nate that I can­not teach my grand­son new words in Belaru­sian as a grand­fa­ther. Addi­tion­al­ly, my daugh­ter can­not explain to him where I am, but he will not feel embar­rassed of me. It is also dis­ap­point­ing that Rehi­janal­na­ja Haze­ta could have con­tin­ued to exist for many years but had to halt the print ver­sion and shift its focus to online in July 2021. I do not con­fess to any wrong­do­ing.”

    In Jan­u­ary 2023, the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion added Rehi­janal­na­ja Hazeta’s web­site and Telegram chan­nel to the Nation­al List of Extrem­ist Mate­ri­als fol­low­ing the Mal­adzech­na Dis­trict Court’s deci­sion. The edi­to­r­i­al office was raid­ed by law enforce­ment, and the edi­tor-in-chief was detained. Addi­tion­al­ly, the court declared the con­tent of the pub­li­ca­tion on Vkon­tak­te as “extrem­ist.”

    Ali­ak­san­dr Mant­se­vich used to be the chief edi­tor of Rehi­janal­na­ja Haze­ta, an inde­pen­dent media that cov­ered life in Mal­adzech­na and the Min­sk and Hrod­na Regions. He got arrest­ed on 15 March 2023, after a raid in his home in Vilei­ka, and from then on, he has been in cus­tody.

    At that time, the edi­to­r­i­al team’s homes were also searched by law enforce­ment. They seized office equip­ment and mon­ey and made every­one sign a non-dis­clo­sure state­ment.

    Alleged­ly, Ali­ak­san­dr Mant­se­vich, as the head of the edi­to­r­i­al board of Rehi­janal­na­ja Haze­ta, along with oth­er per­sons, spread false infor­ma­tion that dis­cred­it­ed the Belaru­sian gov­ern­ment and its pow­er. This was done through the news­pa­per and social media plat­forms over a peri­od from 1 Jan­u­ary 2020 to 15 March 2023.

    The pros­e­cu­tion asserts that the arti­cles con­tained incor­rect infor­ma­tion that was intend­ed to cause sig­nif­i­cant harm to the state, pub­lic wel­fare, and nation­al inter­ests. This infor­ma­tion degrad­ed the author­i­ty of the coun­try and its offi­cials. It also caused unrest among cit­i­zens of Belarus since it pro­vid­ed false ideas about the vio­la­tion of their rights and free­doms.


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