“By sentencing journalist Larysa Shchyrakova to 3.5 years in prison, Belarusian authorities are once again demonstrating their vindictiveness towards those who reported independently on the nationwide protests that shook the country in 2020,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director.
“Belarusian authorities must drop all charges against Shchyrakova and release her immediately alongside all other imprisoned journalists.”
The court also fined her $1,316.
Only the operative part of the judgment was announced. Larysa started crying upon seeing her family and friends in the courtroom but soon composed herself.
The details of the charges against the journalist are unknown, but it’s believed she disseminated “untrue” information about Belarus online. It’s also unclear what her involvement in “extremist activities” was. Attorney Viktoria Famenka, who represented Shchyrakova, signed a non-disclosure obligation.