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  • Tatsiana Pytko, wife of imprisoned cameraman Viachaslau Lazarau, detained

    The woman was arrested on June 6 and is currently in custody. Tatsiana and Viachaslau’s daughter, who is just over a year old, has been sent to a children’s hospital as there is no family or guardian nearby.

    Human rights activists have rea­son to believe that the deten­tion is relat­ed to a crim­i­nal case. How­ev­er, it is not known whether she is being pros­e­cut­ed in the same case as her hus­band.

    Viachaslau Laza­rau, a free­lance cam­era­man, is charged under Arti­cle 361–4 of the Crim­i­nal Code (“Pro­mot­ing Extrem­ist Activ­i­ties”) for asso­ci­a­tion with a non-state media out­let declared extrem­ist in Belarus. He has been detained for four months. Cor­re­spon­dence with him is obstruct­ed. There­fore, it is not known at what stage of the inves­ti­ga­tion his case is. His moth­er vis­it­ed him only once, short­ly after his arrest.

    Viachaslau Laza­rau does not have a lawyer. This is a com­mon sit­u­a­tion in Belarus today: lawyers are afraid to take on “polit­i­cal” cas­es, lest they lose their jobs.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion has con­fis­cat­ed Viachaslau Lazarau’s office equip­ment.

    In 2018 and 2019, Viachaslau Laza­rau was fined twice for “ille­gal pro­duc­tion of media prod­ucts.” Dur­ing the events of August 2020, Laza­rau was arrest­ed for tak­ing pic­tures of police wag­ons, but released with­out charges. Tasiana Pytko was also fined for tak­ing part in an “unau­tho­rized assem­bly”.

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