On November 16, several human rights and media organizations released a joint statement recognizing journalist Andrei Tolchyn as a political prisoner.
On September 27, 2023, authorities arrested Tolchyn in Homel, who was a former journalist. The next day, the security forces searched his apartment and seized computer equipment and other digital devices as evidence. Andrei Tolchyn was detained and charged with a crime.
He founded the Gomelskie Vedomosti newspaper in Homel and worked as a freelance journalist for several independent publications. Tolchyn has been detained and tried multiple times for his journalistic work since 2017. Following the 2020 protests, he made the decision to stop working as a journalist.
The organisations who signed the statement, including the Belarusian Association of Journalists, demanded that the Belarusian government release Andrei Tolchyn and other political prisoners right away. They also want the government to stop using criminal charges to pressure people into giving up their freedom of speech and other rights.