“The sentencing of Belarusian journalist Pavel Padabed to four years’ imprisonment after a hasty two-day trial is a travesty of justice,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in Amsterdam. “Authorities should drop all charges against Padabed, release him immediately alongside all other imprisoned journalists, and stop retaliating against members of the press for their reporting.”
On Friday, a court in Minsk, the capital, convicted Padabed of participating in an extremist formation and sentenced him to four years at the request of state prosecutors, according to reports by the banned human rights group Viasna and the Belarusian Association of Journalists, an advocacy and trade group operating from exile. Padabed’s trial began Wednesday.
Belarus was the world’s fifth worst jailer of journalists, with at least 26 journalists behind bars on December 1, 2022, when CPJ conducted its most recent prison census. In May, authorities similarly sentenced journalist Yauhen Merkis to four years on extremism charges.
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