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  • Tatsiana Pytsko fined for distributing “extremist materials”

    On April 9, the Vit­seb­sk Dis­trict Court imposed a fine of $305 on Tat­siana Pyt­sko, who had pre­vi­ous­ly been con­vict­ed over coop­er­a­tion with an “extrem­ist for­ma­tion”. The Vit­seb­sk police scanned her social media pages and found posts con­tain­ing the logos of two Inter­net resources includ­ed in the Repub­li­can List of Extrem­ist Mate­ri­als.

    Tat­siana Pytko is now the ex-wife of video­g­ra­ph­er Viachaslau Laza­rau. On Sep­tem­ber 25 last year, when they were still mar­ried, they were both con­vict­ed of coop­er­at­ing with for­eign media, which are rec­og­nized as extrem­ist for­ma­tions in Belarus.

    The tri­al of Pyt­sko and Laza­rau was held in closed ses­sion at the Vit­seb­sk Region­al Court. Judge Yauhen Budunou found the woman guilty of pro­mot­ing extrem­ist activ­i­ties and sen­tenced her to three years in prison.  The Supreme Court decid­ed to com­mute her sen­tence to three years sus­pend­ed sen­tence until her daugh­ter reach­es the age of three.

    Tat­siana Pyt­sko was there­fore released on Novem­ber 24, 2023. Her youngest daugh­ter will turn three in May 2025, but the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tive charges may affect Tat­siana Pyt­sko’s future fate. She is under police super­vi­sion, and vio­la­tions of the law may become a rea­son to change her sus­pend­ed sen­tence to a real one.

    On June 21, 2023, two weeks after Tatiana Pyt­sko was detained fol­low­ing a search of her apart­ment, the Belaru­sian human rights com­mu­ni­ty rec­og­nized her as a pris­on­er of con­science. On Decem­ber 8, 2023, the Min­istry of Inter­nal Affairs includ­ed her in the List of Per­sons Involved in Extrem­ist Activ­i­ties.

    Viachaslau Laza­rau, a free­lance video­g­ra­ph­er, was also rec­og­nized as a pris­on­er of con­science and is cur­rent­ly serv­ing a five-year sen­tence in Mahil­iou Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty #15. Accord­ing to the lat­est infor­ma­tion, he recent­ly suf­fered from pneu­mo­nia and on 11 April he was trans­ferred to the Secure Hous­ing Unit for an unspec­i­fied peri­od of time.


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