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Belarusian media workers behind bars. Portraits

31.12.2023 Source: RFE/RL's Belarus Service and BAJ

As campaigning for the 2020 elections began, the Belarusian authorities launched a war on journalists and independent media.

They were stripped of their press cards, beaten, shot with rubber bullets, arrested and detained for weeks, and charged with criminal offenses. Since then, journalists have been arrested on more than 500 occasions.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists monitors all cases of harassment of journalists and media workers. Below, you will find information on those imprisoned on criminal charges. 

 

Aliaksandr Mantsevich, journalist, Rehijanalnaja Hazeta editor-in-chief, behind bars since 15 March 2023

Aliaksandr Mantsevich from Vilejka established Rehijanalnaja Hazeta in April 1995 and has been heading it ever since. It was one of the first private publications in Belarus and, before it was closed down, it became the leading independent media in Maladzechna and the District. Mantsevich had won numerous journalistic contests and prizes for high-quality work.

On 15 March, he was arrested during a wave of raids on regional mass media together with his wife Nina Mantsevich and his colleagues Siarhei Stankievich and Aleh Rubchenia. The latter spent 15 days in detention for alleged "disobedience to the police," and the wife was released. On 23 March, it became known that a criminal case was brought against the 64-year-old editor-in-chief and he was transferred to a pre-trial detention center. Aliaksandr was accused of "deliberately spreading false information defaming Belarus and its authorities." The case was based on articles published in Rehijanalnaja Hazeta from 1 January 2020 to 15 March 2023.

Charges: Article 369-1 of the Criminal Code (discrediting the Republic of Belarus).

Birthday: 5 August 1958

Viachaslau Lazarau, journalist, cameraman, behind bars since 9 February 2023

Viachaslau was arrested at home in Vitsebsk. The police searched his apartment and his wife's home and seized digital equipment: smartphones, a laptop, and a video camera. The journalist was later charged with "promoting extremist activity.”

In 2018 and 2019 Lazarau was fined twice for "illegal production of media products" (part 2 of Article 22.9 of the Administrative Offences Code). In 2020, the Kastrychnitski District Court of Vitsebsk dismissed the case against him under the same article. During the August 2020 events, Lazarau was also arrested and kept in detention for several hours without charges.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Charges: Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promoting extremist activity).

Birthday: 29 August 1976

Pavel Padabed, journalist, cameraman, behind bars since 21 January 2023

Pavel Padabed was detained in Minsk on his way to a post office. He was likely arrested at the post office, as he has not made all the necessary payments and could not be reached.

Initially, he spent 15 days in detention for "dissemination of extremist content." After that, a criminal case was opened against him for reposting from "extremist" media back in 2012. Pavel was transferred to Minsk pre-trial detention facility. In the autumn 2020, Pavel was arrested when covering one of the protests.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Charges: Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promoting extremist activity).

Birthday: 13 May 1979

Larysa Shchyrakova, former independent journalist, behind bars since 6 December 2022

Larysa Shchyrakova, a former independent journalist from Homel, was detained on December 6. Later it became known that a criminal case was brought against her for "discrediting the Republic of Belarus."

Shchyrakova's minor son was taken to a children's shelter on the day of his mother's arrest. His father, who lives in Russia, was able to collect his son from the shelter.

Back in 2021, Shchyrakova publicly announced that she quit journalism. She worked as a photographer, documenting Belarusian cultural traditions and offering folk-style photoshoots to the public.

Human rights activists recognized her as a political prisoner.

Charges: Article 369-1 of the Criminal Code (discrediting the Republic of Belarus).

Birthday: 13 April 1973

Dzmitry Semchanka, ex-regime promoter at All-National TV, behind bars since 15 September 2022

Dzmitry Semchanka, head of the "presidential pool," resigned from the state-run All-National TV after a violent crackdown on protests in August 2020. In September of that year, he spent 15 days in temporary detention for participating in a protest march. On 15 September 2022, Dzmitry and his wife Yulia were arrested again in Minsk. Yulia was soon released, while Dzmitry spent 30 days in detention for "disorderly conduct."

In October, it became known that Semchanka was criminally charged with "inciting social hatred." A "repentance video" appeared in pro-regime Telegram channels, where Semchanka explained that there was a comment to his post on social media that the expert committee considered incitement to hatred against police officers.

Semchanka was accused of making three social media posts in 2020-2022 that allegedly formed a "negative attitude toward law enforcement agencies, military personnel, and representatives of state authority in general." Dzmitry pleaded guilty in court.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 3 years of imprisonment under Part 1 Article 130 of the Criminal Code (inciting social hatred or enmity).

Judge: Yauhen Pisarevich

Birthday: 28 August 1983

Yauhen Merkis, journalist, behind bars since 13 September 2022

Yauhen Merkis, a well-known journalist and local historian from Homel, was arrested after a search of his home on September 13. It was initially reported that the prosecution was related to encouraging sanctions. Later it became known that he was accused of promoting extremist activity.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Birthday: 8 November 1986

Pavel Mazheika, journalist, behind bars since 30 August 2022

The head of the Center for Urban Life in Hrodna, journalist Pavel Mazheika was arrested on 30 August 2022 when he returned to Belarus from abroad. His apartment and his parents' house were searched.

Sometime later he was transferred to a pre-trial detention center. According to Viasna HRC, a criminal case was brought against Pavel for "promoting extremist activity."

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Charges: Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promoting extremist activity).

Birthday: 25 May 1978

Ivan Muraujou, journalist, behind bars since 29 August 2022

On 29 August 2022, Investigative Committee officers detained Ivan Muraujou, cameraman, photographer, and owner of a hookah bar in Minsk.

On 26 December 2022, Minsk City Court announced the verdict: 2.5 years in prison for "participation in an extremist formation." Recording a video for Belsat TV's investigation of Lukashenka's family served as grounds for prosecution.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists later found out that Muraujou was convicted for filming an investigation led by journalist Stanislau Ivashkevich, which was broadcast on the Belsat TV channel. The piece titled "Lilia Lukashenka's girlfriend and oligarchs benefitted from “the case of orthopedists’” appeared in July 2022.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 2 years 6 months of imprisonment under part 3 of Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (participation in an extremist formation).

Judge: Alena Shylko

Birthday: 23 November 1978

 

Yury Hladchuk, journalist at Avtobiznes news outlet, behind bars since 16 June 2022

The special projects editor of the motor transport-related media outlet Avtobiznes (abw.by) was arrested on 16 June 2022 following a raid. He was detained in the criminal case of group actions grossly violating public order.

Human rights activists recognized Yury Hladchuk as a political prisoner. His case was heard in December 2022 at the Frunzenski District Court of Minsk. He was tried under two articles: Article 368 (insulting Lukashenka) and Article 342 (active participation in actions grossly violating public order).

Sentence: 2.5 years of imprisonment under Articles 342 of the Criminal Code (active participation in actions grossly violating public order) and 368 (insulting Lukashenka).

Birthday:  04 April 1989

Aliaksandr Lubianchuk, journalist, behind bars since 26 May 2022

Aliaksandr Lubianchuk was detained after a search in the village of Kryvichy, Iwye district, on 26 May 2022. In addition to journalism, he was engaged in charity work, organizing tourist trips and restoring the historical and cultural heritage of the Havahrudak region. The exact charges against him were not known until the trial. On 27 October 2022, Minsk City Court pronounced its verdict: three years of imprisonment for "establishment of or participation in an extremist formation."

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 3 years of imprisonment under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (establishing or participating in an extremist formation).

Judge: Alena Ananich

Birthday: 1 September 1988

Kanstantsin Zalatykh, director of Belarusy i Rynok newspaper, behind bars since 18 May 2022

The director of the weekly newspaper Belorusy i Rynok was arrested on 18 May 2022 after a search in the editorial office. In June, a criminal case was brought against him for alleged incitement of hatred. He was charged with several political articles, most of which were of a defamatory nature, namely the public dissemination of information bringing into disrepute the honor and dignity of a public official. On 6 April 2023, he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 4 years of imprisonment under Part 2 of Article 130 (incitement of racial, national, religious, or other social hatred or enmity), Part 1 of Article 368 (insulting Lukashenka), Article 369 (insulting an official), Part 2 of Article 426 (abuse of office).

Birthday: 5 July 1969

Yury Hantsarevich, Intex-Press journalist, behind bars since 27 April 2022

On 29 April 2022, Yury Hantsarevich, a journalist for Baranavichy-based Intex-Press, was sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention. A few days later, pro-regime Telegram channels reported that the journalist had allegedly sent photos of Russian military equipment to independent media outlets deemed "extremist" by the authorities.

On 6 May 2022, Hantsarevich was accused of "promoting extremist activity." The Intex-Press editorial office was searched.

On 14 July 2022, the journalist was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

Human rights activists recognized Yury Hantsarevich as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 2 years and 6 months of imprisonment under Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promoting extremist activity).

Judge: Mikalai Hryharovich

Birthday: April 12, 1999

Dzmitry Luksha, a correspondent for the Khabar24 TV channel (Kazakhstan), behind bars since 11 March 2022

Dzmitry Luksha was arrested on 11 March after a search of his apartment in Minsk. His story on Kazakhstan's Khabar 24 TV channel allegedly served as a ground for detention. Luksha had previously worked for Belteleradiocompany, where he was the host of the Zona X TV show and was involved in creating propaganda programs.

At first, the reporter was accused of allegedly insulting an official. Later it became known that he was charged with participation in mass riots and discrediting the Republic of Belarus.

On 2 December 2022, Minsk City Court sentenced Dzmitry Luksha to four years in prison and a fine of $6,335. His wife Palina Palavinka was arrested in June 2022 in the same case and got 2.5 years in prison and a fine of $1,270. Cameraman Kanstantsin Nikanorau who worked for the same channel was punished with three years of home confinement and a fine of $1,270.

Human rights activists recognized Dzmitry Luksha and Palina Palavinka as political prisoners.

Sentence: 4 years of imprisonment under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (organization and preparation of, or active participation in actions that grossly violate public order) and Article 369-1 of the Criminal Code (discrediting the Republic of Belarus).

Judge: Natallia Buhuk

Birthday: 31 July 1989

Siarhei Satsuk, journalist and editor at Ezhednevnik, behind bars since 8 December 2021

A pioneer of investigative journalism in Belarus was arrested on 8 December 2021 after his home was searched. He was taken for questioning by the Investigative Committee under Article 430 of the Criminal Code (bribe-taking).

On 25 March 2020, Satsuk had already been arrested in the same case. The human rights organizations then pointed to "a political motive behind the prosecution of the journalist, aimed at forcing him to stop spreading information about corruption." On 4 April 2020, the General Prosecutor's Office of Belarus canceled the decision to take Siarhei Satsuk into custody.

In June 2022, it became known that the journalist was also accused of inciting social hatred (Article 130 of the Criminal Code) and abuse of office (Article 426 of the Criminal Code). It is not known what specific actions of the editor are related to the charges.

On 26 October 2022, Minsk City Court sentenced Siarhei Satsuk to 8 years in prison. He was also punished with a fine of $11,100. According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Satsuk's sentence is an act of revenge for his high-profile investigations.

Human rights activists recognized the journalist as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 8 years of imprisonment under Articles 430 (bribe-taking), 130 (inciting social hatred or enmity), and 426 of the Criminal Code (abuse of office).

Judge: Sviatlana Bandarenka

Birthday: 15 April 1968

Andrei Kuznechyk, RFE/RL journalist, behind bars since 25 November 2021

On 25 November 2021, Andrei Kuznechyk was arrested near his home; during a search of his apartment money, digital devices, and other items were seized. Kuznechyk was placed in Minsk temporary detention center. He was twice sentenced to 10-day detention for "disorderly conduct."

On 23 December 2021, it became known that a criminal case was brought against the journalist. The family and the public learned the details of the charges only half a year after the arrest.

On 8 June 2022, Mahilou Regional Court sentenced Andrei Kuznechyk to 6 years of imprisonment for "establishing an extremist formation." The closed trial lasted just for a few hours, the circumstances of the case are unknown.

The journalist did not plead guilty. The day before his detention, Kuznechyk wrote a kind of manifesto in which he explained his decision to stay in Belarus, despite the risks.

In September 2022, the Ministry of Internal Affairs put Kuznechyk on the List of People Involved in Extremist Activity.

Human rights activists recognized the journalist as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 6 years of imprisonment under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (establishing or participating in an extremist formation).

Judge: Ihar Shvedau

Birthday: 29 December 1978

Iryna Slaunikava, journalist for TVP, behind bars since 30 October 2021

Polish TVP journalist and former Belsat staff member Iryna Slaunikava and her husband were detained at the Minsk airport upon return from vacation on 30 November 2021. She spent 30 days in detention for allegedly storing "extremist content" and "disorderly conduct."

It later became known that Slaunikava was a criminal suspect.

On 3 August 2022, Homel Regional Court found Slaunikava guilty of "organizing protest actions" and "leadership in an extremist formation" and sentenced her to 5 years in prison, one year more than requested by the prosecution.

Human rights activists recognized her as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 5 years of imprisonment under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (organization and preparation of, or active participation in actions that grossly violate public order) and Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (establishment of or participation in an extremist formation).

Judge: Mikalai Dolia

Public prosecutor: Iryna Padkavyrava

Birthday: 12 July 1970

 

Ina Mozhchanka, former BelTA staff member, behind bars since 29 September 2021

Before the arrest, Ina Mozhchanka worked as the head of the digital sector within the online media support and development department of the state-run BelTA news agency. The reason for her arrest was the fact that Mozhchanka commented on the murder of KGB officer Fedasiuk and IT specialist Andrei Zeltsar during a police raid on her social media. On 29 September 2021, law enforcement officers arrested her.

On 7 September 2022, Brest Regional Court sentenced Ina Mozhchanka to 3 years of imprisonment for "insulting an official" and "inciting hatred or enmity."

Human rights activists recognized the journalist as a political prisoner. The KGB put her on a list of "persons involved in terrorist activities."

Sentence: 3 years of imprisonment under Article 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting an official) and Article 130 (inciting hatred or enmity).

Judge: Vera Filonik

Public prosecutor: Aliaksandr Batsiushka

Birthday:  29 May 1977

Iryna Leushyna, general director and editor-in-chief at BelaPAN media agency, behind bars since 18 August 2021

Iryna Leushyna joined BelaPAN in September 1992 at the invitation of the agency's founder, Ales Lipai. She was editor-in-chief since 2004 and became the company's director on 22 January 2021. In 2018, Leushyna was prosecuted in the "BelTA case". Journalists were accused of unauthorized access to the state agency's information.

Despite risk warnings, Iryna Leushyna decided to stay and work in Belarus. On 18 August 2021, six current and former BelaPAN employees were searched as part of the criminal case for organizing and preparing a gross violation of public order. Leushyna was detained for 72 hours and was never released.

On 6 October 2022, Minsk Regional Court sentenced Leushyna to 4 years in prison for establishing and managing an "extremist formation." In her final statement, the journalist called the charge "complete nonsense.”

Human rights activists recognized her as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 4 years of imprisonment under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (establishing and managing an extremist formation).

Judge: Viachaslau Tuleika

Birthday: 29 November 1965

Dzmitry Navazhylau, former general director of BelaPAN media agency, behind bars since 18 August 2021

In the 1990s, Dzmitry Navazhylau worked with Pavel Sharemet as an ORT TV channel correspondent in Belarus. He then headed the news office of Channel One Russia. Since 2015, he worked with BelaPAN. When the agency's founder, Ales Lipai, diseased in August 2018, Navazhylau became acting and then general director. In January 2021, Navazhylau resigned, but he was anyway searched and arrested on 18 August 2021. Navazhylau, suspected of participating in group actions violating public order, was not released after three days in a detention center.

On 6 October 2022, Minsk Regional Court sentenced Navazhylau to 6 years of imprisonment for establishing and managing an "extremist formation" and tax evasion.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 6 years of imprisonment under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (establishing and managing an extremist formation) and Article 243 of the Criminal Code (tax evasion).

Judge: Viachaslau Tuleika

Birthday: 12 August 1972

Valeria Kastsiuhova, political scientist, journalist, behind bars since 30 June 2021

Valeria Kastsiuhova, founder and long-time editor of the Nashe Mnenie expert community website and author of the Belarusian Yearbook publication, was arrested on 30 June 2021. She was charged with "conspiracy or other actions aimed at seizing power", "complicity in crimes" and "encouraging actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus." The details of the case have not been disclosed, since the lawyer signed a non-disclosure statement. The verdict was handed down on 17 March 2023.

Valeria Kastsiuhova's father died while she was in custody. Human rights activists recognized her as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 10 years of imprisonment under Part 1 Article 357 (conspiracy or other actions aimed at seizing power) and Part 3 Article 361 of the Criminal Code (encouraging actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus).

Judge: Dzina Kuchuk

Birthday: 30 December 1967

Maryna Zolatava, TUT.BY editor-in-chief, behind bars since 18 May 2021

The permanent (since 2004) editor-in-chief of TUT.BY, Maryna Zolatava, was arrested on 18 May 2021 along with 14 other defendants in the "TUT.BY case". She was accused of complicity in large-scale tax evasion.

All in all, 15 TUT.BY staff members were remanded, including the editorial staff, whose work is not connected with the economic activity of the company, tax payment, or legal aspects. The TUT.BY website was blocked for publishing "information prohibited by law."

On 9 January 2023, the trial began in Minsk City Court and was held in camera. The verdict was announced on March 17.

Human rights activists declared Zolatava a political prisoner.

Sentence: 12 years of imprisonment under Part 2 of Article 243 (grand tax evasion); Part 3 of Article 130 (incitement of racial, national, religious, or other social hatred); Part 3 of Article 361 (encouraging actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus).

Judge: Valiantsina Ziankevich

Public prosecutor: Tatsiana Hrakun

Birthday: 6 November 1977

Ludmila Chekina, TUT.BY General Director, behind bars since 18 May 2021

Ludmila Chekina was arrested along with other defendants in the "TUY.BY case" on charges of grand tax evasion.

Human rights activists recognized Chekina as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 12 years of imprisonment under Part 2 of Article 243 (grand tax evasion); Part 3 of Article 130 (incitement of racial, national, religious, or other social hatred); Part 3 of Article 361 (encouraging actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus).

Judge: Valiantsina Ziankevich

Public prosecutor: Tatsiana Hrakun

Birthday: 13 July 1973

Andrzej Poczobut, journalist, behind bars since 25 March 2021

On 25 March 2021, at the height of the Belarusian-Polish diplomatic conflict, members of the officially disgraced Union of Poles in Belarus were searched in Hrodna. The General Prosecutor's office brought a criminal case for "incitement of national and religious hatred." Among the arrested leaders of the organization was well-known journalist Andrzej Poczobut, 49. The Union of Poles in Belarus, as well as the Polish government, stated that the prosecution was "an act of intimidation against the entire Polish minority in Belarus." Following the Poczobut verdict, Poland closed another Polish-Belarusian border crossing, Bobrowniki — Berastavitsa.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 8 years of imprisonment under Part 3 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code (inciting national or religious hatred or rehabilitating Nazism) and under Part 3 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code (encouraging sanctions aimed at harming national security).

Judge: Dzmitry Bubenchyk

Birthday: 16 April 1973

Dzianis Ivashyn, investigative journalist, behind bars since 12 March 2021

Dzianis Ivashyn, volunteer editor of the InformNapalm international intelligence community and freelance correspondent of Novy Chas newspaper, was detained by KGB officers on 12 March 2021 in his apartment in Hrodna. The journalist has been charged with "obstructing the work of a policeman" and "high treason."

His family believes the detention is connected with Ivashyn's investigation into the service of former Ukrainian Berkut officers in the Interior Ministry of Belarus.

On 14 September 2022, Dzianis Ivashyn was sentenced to 13 years and 1 month in prison and a fine of $9,030.

The journalist refused to cooperate with the investigation and pleaded not guilty. In jail, he was subjected to all kinds of pressure.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner. Ivashyn was awarded the Order of Pahonia by the Belarusian People's Republic Council.

Sentence: 13 years and 1 month of imprisonment under Article 179 of the Criminal Code (illegal collection and dissemination of information about private life) and Article 356 (high treason).

Judge: Valer Ramanouski

Birthday: 6 June 1979

Andrei Aliaksandrau, journalist, behind bars since 12 January 2021

Friends lost contact with Andrei Aliaksandrau, 43, on 12 January 2021. Two days later, it emerged that Andrei and his partner Iryna Zlobina were arrested and charged with rioting. The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs said that they had financed the protesters, "including by paying their fines and compensating detention fees." Human rights activists claimed that these were legitimate charitable activities.

On 30 June 2021, the journalist was additionally charged with "high treason."

For his poems from behind bars, Andrei Aliaksandrau won the Frantsishak Aliakhovich Prison Literature Award.

On 1 September 2022, Aliaksandrau and Zlobina were married in Minsk jail.

On 6 October 2022, Minsk Regional Court sentenced Aliaksandrau to 14 years of imprisonment on several charges, including "instructing individuals to participate in riots" and "high treason." Iryna Zlobina was sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment.

Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

Sentence: 14 years of imprisonment (Article 342 of the Criminal Code (preparation of or participation in actions that grossly violate public order), Article 243 of the Criminal Code (tax evasion), Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (establishment of or participation in an extremist formation), Article 356 of the Criminal Code (high treason)).

Judge: Viachaslau Tuleika

Birthday: 27 January 1978

Ksenia Lutskina, journalist, behind bars since 22 December 2020

Until the end of August 2020, Ksenia Lutskina worked as a special correspondent for the National State Television and Radio Company of tBelarus. Then she participated in a political strike, resigned in protest, and joined the opposition Coordinating Council. She was arrested on 22 December 2020, along with other defendants in the "Press Club case". The original charge was aiding and abetting tax evasion.

Lutskina was not released along with four Press Club members on 19 August 2021. It became known that a new criminal case was initiated against the journalist, who refused to write a clemency petition to Lukashenka. In prison, the journalist's health problems worsened: a brain tumor began to grow and her bronchial asthma became more acute.

On 28 September 2022, Minsk City Court sentenced Ksenia to 8 years in prison for "conspiracy or other actions to take over power."

Human rights activists recognized Ksenia Lutskina as a political prisoner. She left behind an underage son.

Sentence: 8 years of imprisonment under Part 1 of Article 357 of the Criminal Code (conspiracy or other actions to take over power).

Judge: Tatsiana Falkouskaya

Birthday: 14 February

Katsiaryna Andreyeva, Belsat TV journalist, behind bars since 15 November 2020

On 15 November 2020, Katsiaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava) was arrested in an apartment on the Square of Change, from where she was broadcasting the protests for the Belsat TV channel. Ten SWAT officers broke the door and rushed inside ordering her to pack her things. Katsiaryna was not told what she was being arrested for.

Andreyeva was administratively detained for a week for "participation in an unauthorized public assembly and disobedience to the police." She pleaded not guilty and accused the police officers who drew up the report of giving false testimony. She was later accused of organizing and preparing actions that grossly violate public order.

On 18 February 2021, she was sentenced to two years of imprisonment.

On 10 February 2022, Katsiaryna was transferred back to jail and charged with "high treason." On 13 July 2022, Aleh Kharoshka, a judge of Homel Regional Court, sentenced the journalist to 8 years and 3 months of imprisonment.

The journalist was recognized as a political prisoner. Andreyeva was awarded the Order of Pahonia by the Belarusian People's Republic Council.

Sentence: 2 years of imprisonment under 342 of the Criminal Code (organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order) and 8 years and 3 months of imprisonment under Article 356 of the Criminal Code (high treason).

Judges: Natallia Buhuk (first sentence), Aleh Kharoshka (second sentence).

Birthday: 2 November 1993

Ihar Losik, RFE/RL Belarus journalist, behind bars since 25 June 2020

Ihar Losik was arrested on June 25 in his home in Baranavichy. His apartment was searched and the journalist was escorted to Minsk, where he was charged with "preparation for violation of public order."

He went on hunger strike for 41 days (from 15 December 2020 to 25 January 2021) to protest against the new charges of preparation to participate in mass riots.

On 14 December 2021, in a closed session held inside the jail, the Homel Regional Court sentenced Losik to 15 years of imprisonment. Commenting on the verdict, Ihar said that there was not a single expert report or publication proving his guilt on the charges brought against him.

His 4-year-old daughter, Paulina, is waiting for him on the outside.

On 18 October 2022, law enforcers detained Ihar's wife, Daria Losik, who fought for her husband's release. She was accused of "facilitating extremist activities." Daria Losik was sentenced to two years of imprisonment. Judge: Mikalai Hryharovich.

On 4 November 2022, the Interior Ministry included Losik in the List of Persons Involved in Extremist Activities.

The human rights activists recognized Ihar and Daria Losiks as political prisoners. Ihar and Daria were awarded the Order of Pahonia by the Belarusian People's Republic Council.

Sentence: 15 years of imprisonment under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code (preparation for gross violation of public order) and Part 2 of Article 293 (preparation for participation in mass riots).

Judge: Mikalai Dolia

Public prosecutor: Dzianis Mikushau

Birthday: 20 May 1992

 

Copyright (c)2022 RFE/RL, Inc. Used with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

 

Ihar Karnei, journalist, behind bars since 17 July 2023.

Ihar Karnei is a journalist and publicist who reports on the cultural and historical traditions of Belarus and documents his travels worldwide.

He was arrested after a search of his house and detained for ten days in an unknown administrative case. Karnei was not released after the detention and instead transferred to a pre-trial detention center where a criminal case was opened against him. His charges are unknown.

The journalist was previously arrested in November 2020 before a protest march and detained for 10 days.

Charges: Unknown

Birthday: 1 January 1968

Andrei Tolchyn, journalist and videographer, behind bars since 27 September 2023.

Tolchyn is an independent journalist and public figure from Homel. He was once a member of the Homel City Council in 1990. In addition, he established the Homel City publication Gomelskiye Vesti.

He was taken into custody on 27 September 2023. His home in Homel was searched the next day, September 28, and computer equipment was seized. Later it was discovered that he was charged with inciting actions that may harm the national security of the Republic of Belarus.

Andrei Tolchyn has been detained on multiple occasions and put on trial for journalistic activities from 2017 onwards. He was arrested before a protest march in September 2020, along with journalist Larysa Shchyrakova. Tolchyn received five days of detention and went on a hunger strike during his time behind bars.

He was then detained in 2021 for allegedly violating the mass media law in the Tsikhanouski case. As a result, his video equipment was seized and he was fined $250.

Following the 2020 events, Tolchyn quit the profession. Shortly before his most recent arrest, his sister passed away. Andrei had been looking after her during her illness.

Charges: Part 3 Article 361 of the Criminal Code (encouraging actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus)

Birthday: 13 July 1959