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  • Trial of videographer Andrei Tolchyn starts in Homel

    The tri­al of free­lance video­g­ra­ph­er Andrei Tolchyn began today at Homel Region­al Court. Tolchyn has been in cus­tody for over five months and faces charges under three arti­cles of the Crim­i­nal Code.

    These include pro­mot­ing extrem­ist activ­i­ty, libel­ing the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Belarus, and dis­cred­it­ing the Repub­lic of Belarus.

    The case is being con­sid­ered by Judge Dzmit­ry Kazlou, who has repeat­ed­ly presided over polit­i­cal­ly charged crim­i­nal cas­es involv­ing res­i­dents of the Homel Region.

    On 27 Sep­tem­ber 2023, Andrei Tolchyn was detained. The fol­low­ing day, inves­ti­ga­tors searched the apart­ment he shared with his wife and seized com­put­er equip­ment and oth­er dig­i­tal devices. His wife was informed that the search was con­duct­ed under an extrem­ism case. Tolchyn was trans­ferred to Homel pre-tri­al deten­tion cen­ter a few days lat­er, where he remains. The 64-year-old journalist’s health dete­ri­o­rat­ed while in deten­tion. He already suf­fered from hyper­ten­sion and rag­ing pain in his legs.

    On Novem­ber 16 of last year, the Belaru­sian human rights com­mu­ni­ty rec­og­nized Andrei Tolchyn as a polit­i­cal pris­on­er.

    In recent years, Tolchyn worked as a video­g­ra­ph­er for inde­pen­dent media. He was repeat­ed­ly detained, fined, and pun­ished with admin­is­tra­tive deten­tion. He is a co-founder of the inde­pen­dent city news­pa­per Home­l­skiye Vedo­mosti, known through­out the region.

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