Tatsiana Pytsko and Viachaslau Lazarau are now in Vitsebsk pre-trial detention center, and their one-year-old daughter will soon be transferred from the regional children's hospital to an orphanage.
Tatsiana Pytsko was arrested on 6 June. A few days later, she was charged under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (creating or participating in an extremist formation).
The reasons for the arrest became known after Tatsiana's case was brought before the Investigative Committee. The investigators were interested in who filmed Viachaslau Lazarau, who initiated the filming and who commissioned the video material. The Investigative Committee found the cameraman's archive, which was stored on his computers and cell phone. They also found video footage with Tatsiana Pytsko. According to the investigation, she participated in the activities of an extremist formation.
Her husband, Viachaslau Lazarau, was charged under Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promoting extremist activities) for association with a non-state media outlet recognized as an extremist formation in Belarus.
Viachaslau Lazarau, a freelance videographer, was detained on 9 February this year. Security forces searched his home and seized his office equipment. He has been detained ever since.
Human rights activists believe that the persecution of his wife is an additional factor putting pressure on the detainee.
On March 28, the human rights community recognized the freelance cameraman from Vitsebsk as a political prisoner. On June 21, Tatsiana Pytsko received the same status.