Guarantors for TUT.BY case defenders fined $7,300
Judge Valiantsina Ziankevich summoned three witnesses in the case of the former TUT.BY journalists Alena Talkachova and Volha Loika, but they failed to appear in court at the appointed time. Earlier, the journalists were released with a personal recognizance to appear in court.
Alena Talkachova’s guarantors were Valer Varanetski, a diplomat and member of the House of Representatives, and Yauhen Preherman, a political scientist and former head of the International Relations Council of the Minsk Dialogue Initiative. Aliaksandr Shvets, head of the Republican Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, provided a guarantee for Volha Loika.
The court fined each of the guarantors $7,300 for failing to prevent the defenders from fleeing justice.
TUT.BY trial started behind closed doors on 9 January 2023. The media’s general director Ludmila Chekina and editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava were at the bar, while chief editor of the political-economic block Volha Loika, editor of the real estate department Alena Talchachova, and lawyer Katsiaryna Tkachenka failed to appear in court. Katsiaryna Tkachenka’s guarantors have not been persecuted so far.
Last year the journalists were released on bail with the pledge to appear in court, but they left Belarus as soon as the court date was announced.
On 17 March, Judge Valiantsina Ziankevich sentenced Ludmila Chekina and Maryna Zolatava to 12 years of imprisonment.