Updated at 18:53,10-09-2021

Investigative Committee refuses to drop charges against TUT.BY editor

Euroradio

Investigative Committee refuses to drop charges against TUT.BY editor
TUT.BY editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava. Photo: Facebook
The Investigative Committee of Belarus on Friday reject an appeal from TUT.BY editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava who sought to drop criminal charges against her in the so called 'BELTA case.' She remains the only person charged in the case. 14 journalists from several media outlets were earlier cleared of criminal charges after having compensated for the damages in amount of between BYN3000 and BYN17000 ($1500-$8500). Their case was then turned into administrative proceedings, resulting in a fine of BYN735 ($360) for an administrative offence, which they also paid. All of them are now treated as witnesses in the 'BELTA case.'

TUT.BY reports Ms. Zolatava was notified of the Investigative Committee’s decision by Alyaksandr Syamenik, head of the investigation team. She has one month to study the case papers and can afterwards request a prosecutor's office to drop the charges.

Maryna Zolatava was chartged with inaction by an official under Article 425 (2) in the Criminal Code. She is facing at least a fine or up to five years in prison. All of the other journalists in this case were initially charged with unautghorized access to computer information.

The 'BELTA case' began this past August when law-enforcement agents raided the offices of the leading private media organizations TUT.BY and BelaPAN news agency and several other media outlets. The houses of journalists and editors involved in the case were also searched. More than ten people were detained and accused of unauthorized access to the paid newsfeed of state-run news agency BELTA.