Updated at 14:03,27-06-2022

Freelance journalists to stand trial for contributing to Belsat TV


Freelance journalists to stand trial for contributing to Belsat TV
Brest-based Belsat TV contributor Ales Lyavchuk and his wife and colleague Milana Kharytonava are to stand trial in Kobryn district court on Thursday.

The previous hearings were postponed.

“A few days before the hearing Milana received a call from the court. They said they would be hearing our cases on the basis of the protocols drawn upon us for ‘illegal production of media products’ and ‘disobedience to the police’. We did not show up at the hearing; our interests were represented by a lawyer. As a result, one of the protocols was sent for revision, and all our cases will be considered tomorrow,” Ales Lyauchuk told belsat.eu.

The journalist has no doubt that the trial is politically motivated; according to him, even the employees of the court called it ‘the opposition case’.

“If we lived in a state governed by the rule of law, our case would be closed; a case would be initiated against the police officers who grabbed us. But Belarus is a country of police lawlessness. Therefore, everything is possible. The police commit groos violations when drawing a protocol on us, and then make amendment to it. The police intimidate witnesses to our arrest, delete videos filmed by them. Speaking about violations of the law on mass media, I can say that this article does not apply to reporters, it is the editors who are responsible for producing media content. But the authorities turn a blind eye to it. At the same time, Milana and I did not even manage to create or distribute any product [before the arrest]! Nevertheless, there is no doubt that tomorrow heavy fines will be imposed on us, because Lukashenka has to maintain the big army of his ‘wooden soldiers’,”the reporter stresses.

Belsat journalists Ales Lyauchuk and Milana Kharytonava were brutally detained by unknown men in civilian clothes in Kobryn on March 18. In addition to the ruff detention, professional equipment of the journalists was seized. Milana Harytonava’s phone was broken and her fitness tracker was stolen. In Kobryn police department, protocols were drawn on Ales and Milana for ‘disobeying the police’ and ‘violation of mass media law’. Police officers even threatened them with murder.