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  • Journalist Pavel Padabed taken into custody after 15 days of administrative detention

    February 4 was to mark the release date of cameraman Pavel Padabed from 15-day administrative detention. However, the Belarusian Association of Journalists found out that he was transferred to Minsk pre-trial detention center and a criminal case was brought against him instead.

    Pavel Pad­abed was kept in Min­sk Region tem­po­rary deten­tion facil­i­ty (TDC) for shar­ing “extrem­ist mate­ri­als”.

    The day before his sched­uled release, he was trans­ferred to Min­sk TDC for inter­ro­ga­tion.

    It seems like the inves­ti­ga­tors decid­ed to reclas­si­fy the case as a crim­i­nal one. The nature of the accu­sa­tions is not known yet, but every­thing sug­gests that the deten­tion is relat­ed to his for­mer pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ties.

    This is not Pavel’s first encounter with the law enforce­ment sys­tem. After the 2010 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the ensu­ing pub­lic protests, the jour­nal­ist was repeat­ed­ly arrest­ed, includ­ing for cov­er­ing a “silent march” in 2011 as part of the “Rev­o­lu­tion Through Social Media” protest or dur­ing per­for­mances orga­nized by the Tell the Truth cam­paign activists dur­ing ear­ly vot­ing in the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

    In the fall of 2020, when Belarus was gripped by mass protests against stolen elec­tion results and the sub­se­quent use of vio­lence by the police, Pavel Pad­abed was also arrest­ed for his jour­nal­is­tic work. The deten­tion did not result in fur­ther per­se­cu­tion, though.

    But the sit­u­a­tion is rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent now – many peo­ple who doc­u­ment­ed the dra­mat­ic events of 2020 have been put behind bars. The rel­e­vant exam­ples include video­g­ra­phers Ali­ak­san­dr Lubianchuk sen­tenced to three years of impris­on­ment for “par­tic­i­pa­tion in an extrem­ist for­ma­tion” and Ivan Murauy­ou who received a two-and-a-half-year sen­tence on a sim­i­lar charge.

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