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  • Maryna Zolatava, Chief Editor of TUT.BY Charged Under “BelTA case”

    On November 22, Maryna Zolatava , editor-in-chief of the portal TUT.BY , was served official charges.

    Editor-in-Chief Maryna Zolatava, August 9, 2018, near the building of the Central Office of the Investigative Committee. Photo: Stanislau Sharshukou, TUT.BY

    Mary­na Zolata­va was charged under Art. 425 part 2 of the Crim­i­nal Code (Fail­ure to act by a com­pa­ny offi­cial). The arti­cle envis­ages penal­ty from a fine to five years of jail.

    Ear­li­er she was also sus­pect­ed under Part 2 of Art. 349 (Unau­tho­rized access to com­put­er infor­ma­tion) of the Crim­i­nal Code of Belarus. The crim­i­nal charges against Zolata­va under this arti­cle were dropped “due to non-exis­tance of a crime”.

    Thus, all 15 per­sons involved in the “BelTA case” have been served offi­cial charges.

    In par­tic­u­lar, the doc­u­ments state that the jour­nal­ists and edi­tors alleged­ly «per­formed delib­er­ate, for finan­cial or oth­er per­son­al gain, unau­tho­rized access­es to com­put­er infor­ma­tion stored in the com­put­er sys­tem and net­work of BelTA uni­tary enter­prise, accom­pa­nied by secu­ri­ty breach, entail­ing oth­er sig­nif­i­cant harm through neg­li­gence.»

    Alleged amounts of dam­age were charged to all defen­dants.  Its amounts range from 3 to 17 thou­sand BYN.

    Criminal Charges Against Journalists Bykouski and Kuletski Dropped +DOCUMENT

    On August 7–9, the police searched the offices of TUT.BY, Bela­PAN news agency and oth­er media out­lets, as well as jour­nal­ists’ pri­vate apart­ments.

    The author­i­ties detained Mary­na Zolata­va, chief edi­tor of TUT.BY, TUT.BY’s edi­tors Han­na Kalty­hi­na, Hali­na Ulasik, and Han­na Yarma­chonak, Bela­PAN’s chief edi­tor Iry­na Leushy­na and its com­men­ta­tor on inter­na­tion­al affairs Tat­siana Kar­avenko­va, Deutsche Welle’s cor­re­spon­dent Pauliuk Byk­ous­ki, and edi­tor of Belorusy i Rynok web­site Ali­ak­sei Zhukau.

    They all spent sev­er­al days in cus­tody. Being sus­pects in the case, most of them are under trav­el restric­tions.

    The Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee sus­pects jour­nal­ists of unau­tho­rized access to com­put­er infor­ma­tion of BelTA, state-owned news agency. Inde­pen­dent ana­lysts are con­vinced that BelTA case is an attempt to intim­i­date and take the lead­ing non-state media under con­trol. The jour­nal­ists face fines and even jail terms.

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