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  • BelTA case: Investigators start to release journalists, two still in custody

    Tatsyana Karavyankova, a commentator on international affairs at news agency BelaPAN, was released from custody, BAJ press secretary Barys Haretski said on Facebook on Thursday evening.

    Tat­syana Kar­avyanko­va

    A bit ear­li­er, the Belaru­sian Inves­ti­ga­tion Com­mit­tee announced the release of TUT.by – Mary­na Zolata­va, Han­na Kalty­hi­na, Han­na Yer­ma­chonak and Hali­na Ulasik.

    Accord­ing to TUT.BY edi­tor-in-chief Mary­na Zolata­va, the inves­ti­ga­tors were polite, no one exert­ed pres­sure on her. As the woman is under gag order, she can­not com­ment on the cir­cum­stances of the case. Although the Com­mit­tee states that Zolata­va admit­ted her guilt, many aspects of the case are still unclear. The chief edi­tor of TUT>BY media admit­ted her being aware of her col­leagues’ ille­gal using the access to paid sub­scrip­tion of news agency BelTA, they say.

    “This infor­ma­tion is con­firmed by the tes­ti­mo­ny of wit­ness­es involved in the case. Giv­en her active­ly coop­er­at­ing with the inves­ti­ga­tion, the inves­ti­ga­tor decid­ed to revoke the remand in cus­tody,” the state­ment reads.

    In addi­tion, Alyak­sei Zhukau, an edi­tor at the web­site of the Belaru­sians and Mar­ket, was freed on Thurs­day. As he signed a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment, he can­not even reveal whether he made any con­fes­sion, the jour­nal­ist told belsat.eu.

    How­ev­er, Deutsche Welle cor­re­spon­dent Paulyuk Byk­ous­ki and Bela­PAN edi­tor-in-chief Iry­na Leushy­na still remain in cus­tody.

    On August 7, an unprece­dent­ed wave of media work­ers’ arrests start­ed in Belarus.

    After Iry­na Akulovich, Head of state-con­trolled news agency BelTA, had report­ed ‘ille­gal access to their pre­mi­um con­tent’, the Belaru­sian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee ini­ti­at­ed a crim­i­nal case under the arti­cle ‘unau­tho­rized access to com­put­er infor­ma­tion, made out of per­son­al inter­est, which caused sig­nif­i­cant harm’. Accord­ing to the author­i­ties’ ver­sion, some employ­ees of the above-men­tioned media out­lets have used anoth­er person’s pass­word and got infor­ma­tion owned by the Lukashen­ka mouth­piece over the past two years.

    Tut.by jour­nal­ists Hali­na Ulasik, Mary­na Zolata­va, Han­na Kalty­hi­na, Ulyana Babayed, Dzmit­ry Bobryk, Han­na Yer­ma­chonak, Bela­PAN edi­tors Tat­syana Kar­avyanko­va, Iry­na Leushy­na and Andrey Ser­a­da, Deutsche Welle cor­re­spon­dent Paulyuk Byk­ous­ki and the Belaru­sians and Mar­ket jour­nal­ist Alyak­sei Zhukau were also detained. Lat­er Bobryk, Ser­a­da and Babayed were lat­er released. As part of the case, four jour­nal­ists of the prop­er­ty por­tal realt,by were inter­ro­gat­ed.

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