RSF unveils portraits of journalists detained in Belarus

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is unveiling the portraits of journalists who are arbitrarily detained in Belarus, where media personnel have been hounded by the regime ever since the disputed election held on 9 August 2020 that gave Alexander Lukashenko another term as president. RSF pays tribute to them with this list, updated in real time.

When tens of thousands of people reacted to the regime’s conduct of the polling by taking to the streets to peacefully demand honest and transparent elections, the authorities immediately began targeting journalists, especially those reporting the unprecedented scale of these protests and the force used to disperse them.

Since then, there has been no let-up for Belarus’s journalists, whose work now constitutes an all-out battle against the system of repression put in place by the authorities to silence them. After a complete Internet shutdown during the three days following the election and the ensuing mass arrests of reporters, which were often accompanied by violence, the authorities began targeting those managing media outlets.

Dozens of media outlets have been banned and their websites have been blocked. Much of the content they publish is labelled as “extremist” and cannot be shared on social media without risk of imprisonment. Most news organisations and the homes of many of their employees have been subjected to raids in which equipment, documents and money were seized.

The threats and the impossibility of working legally in Belarus have forced many journalists to flee the country and relocate their media outlets abroad, either totally or partly. The supreme court has dissolved the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), RSF’s partner, which has been the main source of support for independent media for 25 years and which received the 2022 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano Prize for its exceptional contribution to the defence of press freedom.

Despite the hostility of the environment, which has worsened since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, journalists working for independent media – both within Ukraine and abroad – are continuing to do their job of providing reliable, independent and honest reporting in defiance of the state propaganda and disinformation orchestrated by Russia. Their resistance is also a tribute to the work of their imprisoned colleagues.

A total of 31 media workers are currently in prison in Belarus.

 

Eduard Palchys

Founder of the 1863x.com website

Charges: organisation of riots (part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code), organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them (art. 342), calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security (art. 361) Incitement to hatred (art.130)

Jailed since: 27 September 2020

Judicial situation: sentenced on 17 December 2021 to 13 years in prison

 

Katsiaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava)

Journalist at Belsat TV

Charges: organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them (art. 342 of the Criminal Code), high treason (art. 356)

Jailed since: 15 November 2020

Judicial situation: sentenced on 18 February to 2 years in prison, sentenced on 13 July 2022 to 8 years and 3 months in prison  

 

Kseniya Lutskina

Former journalist at Belarus 2 TV, co-founder of a YouTube channel project

Charges: conspiracy to seize power in an unconstitutional way (art. 357 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 22 December 2020

Judicial situation: sentenced on 28 September to 8 years in prison. 

 

Andrei Aliaksandrau

founder and chief editor of the news website Belaruski Zhurnal, former deputy director of BelaPAN

Charges: organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them (art. 342 of the Criminal Code), evasion of taxes and fees (art. 243), High treason (art. 356), creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it (art. 361-1)

Jailed since: 12 January 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 6 October 2022 to 14 years in prison

 

Dzianis Ivashyn

Investigative journalist at Novy Chas, editor of the InformNapalm news website

Charges: interference in the activities of a police officer (art. 365 of the Criminal Code), High treason (art. 356)

Jailed since: 12 March 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 14 September 2022  to 13 years and 1 month in prison

 

Andrzej Poczobut

Correspondent of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza 

Charges: incitement to hatred (art.130 of the Criminal Code), calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security (art. 361)

Jailed since: 25 March 2021

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Maryna Zolatava

Editor-in-chief of Tut.by

Charges: evasion of taxes and fees (art. 243 of the Criminal Code), incitement to hatred (art.130 of the Criminal Code), calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security (art. 361)

Jailed since: 18 May 2021

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Liudmila Chekina

General director of TUT.BY

Charges: evasion of taxes and fees (art. 243 of the Criminal Code), incitement to hatred (art.130 of the Criminal Code), calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security (art. 361)

Jailed since: 18 May 2021

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Aliaksandr Ivulin

Journalist at Tribuna

Charges: organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them (art. 342 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 3 June 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 19 January 2022 to 2 years in prison

 

Ihar Losik

Founder of the Telegram channel Belarus Golovnogo Mozga, consultant for Radio Svaboda (RFE/RL)

Charges: organisation of riots (part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code), Incitement to hatred (art.130 of the criminal code)

Jailed since: 25 June 2020

Judicial situation: sentenced on 14 December 2021 to 15 years in prison

 

Valerya Kastsiuhava

Editor at the Belarusian Yearbook

Charges: calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security (art. 361 of the Criminal Code), conspiracy to seize power in an unconstitutional way (art. 357)

Jailed since: 30 June 2021

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Yahor Martsinovich

Editor-in-chief of Nasha Niva

Charges: infliction of property damage without signs of theft (art. 216 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 8 July 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 15 March 2022 to 2 and a half years in prison

 

Andrei Skurko

Journalist and head of marketing at Nasha Niva

Charges: infliction of property damage without signs of theft (art. 216 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 8 July 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 15 March 2022 to 2 and a half years in prison

 

Iryna Leuvshyna

Director and editor-in-chief of BelaPAN 

Charges: creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it (art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 18 August 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 6 October 2022 to 4 years in prison

 

Dzmitry Navazhylau

Former director of BelaPAN

Charges: evasion of taxes and fees (art. 243 of the Criminal Code), creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it (art. 361-1)

Jailed since: 18 August 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 6 October 2022 to 6 years in prison 

 

Genadz Mazheika

Journalist at Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarus

 

Charges: incitement to hatred (art.130 of the Criminal Code), insulting a government official (art. 369),

Jailed since: 2 October 2021

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Iryna Slaunikava

Journalist at Belsat TV 

Charges: organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them (art. 342 of the Criminal Code), creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it (art. 361-1)

Jailed since: 30 October 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 3 August 2022 to 5 years in prison

 

Andrei Kuznechyk

Journalist at Radio Svaboda (RFE/RL)

Charges: creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it (art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 25 November 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 8 June 2022 to 6 years in prison

 

Siarhei Satsuk

Editor-in-chief of Ejednevnik (EJ.BY)

Charges: taking a bribe (art. 430 of the Criminal Code), incitement to hatred (art.130), abuse of power or official position (article 426).

Jailed since: 8 December 2021

Judicial situation: sentenced on 26 October 2022 to 8 years in prison 

  

Dzmitry Luksha

Journalist at Khabar 24

Charges: organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them (art. 342 of the Criminal Code), discrediting the Republic of Belarus (article 369-1)

Jailed since: 11 March 2022

Judicial situation: sentenced on 2 October to 4 years in prison

 

Yury Hantsarevich

Journalist at Intex-Press

Charges: promotion of extremist activities (article 361-4 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 27 April 2022

Judicial situation: sentenced on 14 July 2022 to 2 and a half years in prison

 

Kanstantsin Zalatykh

Director of Belorusy i Rynok

Charges: incitement to hatred (art.130 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 18 May 2021

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Aliaksandr Lyubyanchuk

Ex-journalist at Belsat TV

Charges: creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it (art. 361-1)

Jailed since :  26 May 2022 

Judicial situation: sentenced on 27 October 2022 to 3 years in prison

 

Yury Hladchuk 

Editor at ABW.BY

Charges: organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them (art. 342 of the Criminal Code)

Jailed since: 16 June 2022

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Yulia Mudreuskaya 

Editor-in-chief at ABW.BY

Charges: unknown 

Jailed since: 16 June 2022

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Ivan Murauyou

Journalist, Cameraman and photographer

Charges: creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it (art.361-1) 

Jailed since: 29 August 2022

Judicial situation: on sentenced on 26 December 2022 to 2.5 years in prison

 

Pavel Mazheika

Journalist and director of the center for cultural life of Hrodno


Charges: unknown

Jailed since: 30 August 2022

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial
 

Yauhen Merkis

Ex-Belsat correspondent

Charges: calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security (art. 361)

Jailed since: 13 September 2022

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

Dzmitry Semchanka

Ex-head of the presidential pool of journalists on ONT


Charges: distribution of extremist materials (art.19.11 pf the Criminal Code),  opening of an affaire on incitement to hatred (art.130)

Jailed since: 15 September 2022

Judicial situation: sentenced on 16 September to 15 days in prison and to a further 13 days on 3 October

 

Larysa Shchyrakova

Ex-journalist in Homel

Charges: discrediting the Republic of Belarus (article 369-1)

Jailed since: 6 December 2022

Judicial situation: on remand, awaiting trial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mise à jour le 08.08.2022

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Killed since 1st January 2023
0 journalists
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Currently in prison
29 journalists
3 media workers
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