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BelTA Case: Facts, lists, related links

13.08.2018 Source: Press service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

The Investigative Committee has instigated on the criminal case under Art. 349 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (unauthorized access to computer information, made of other personal interest that results in substantial harm).

Photo: b-g.by

The basis for initiating a criminal case was a report by BelTA unitary enterprise about glitches when accessing a paid subscription to the services provided by BelTA to one of its customers.

Paid subscription for BelTA newsfeed costs 612 BYN a month.

The maximum penalty under Art. 349 Part 2 - restriction or deprivation of freedom for up to 2 years.

The Committee's investigations involve executives of Culture and Art publishing institution; Realt.by, ITV, Belarusian Science publishing house, BelaPAN, and Tut.by media.

Altogether, 18 people have been detained for questioning under the case. Eight people were held in custody.

The general list of the detainees:

August 7

Tatsiana Karavenkova (Belapan)

Andrei Serada (BelaPAN)

Maryna Zolatava (Tut.by)

Hanna Kaltyhina (Tut.by)

Ulyana Babayed (Tut.by)

Halina Ulasik (Tut.by)

Dzmitry Bobryk (Tut.by)

Hanna Yermachonak (Tut.by)

Yauheniya Beraziuk (Tut.by)

Ludmila Chekina (Tut.by).

August 8

11. Aryna Zhukava

12. Aliaksei Zhukau (Belarusy i Rynak)

13 .Ihar Khmara (Realt.by)

14. Maria Saroka (Realt.by)

15. Alena Maslouskaya (Realt.by)

16. Uladzislau Kuletski (Realt.by)

17. Pauliuk Bykousky (freelance reporter for Deutsche Welle, a media expert)

August 9

18. Iryna Leushyna (Belapan)


The following journalists were detaind for 72 hours, spent that time in custody and were released:

Tatsiana Karavenkova (Belapan)

Maryna Zolatava (Tut.by)

Hanna Kaltyhina (Tut.by)

Halina Ulasik (Tut.by)

Hanna Yermachonak (Tut.by)

Aliaksei Zhukau (Belarusy i Rynak)

Pauliuk Bykousky (freelance reporter for Deutsche Welle, a media expert)

Iryna Leushyna (Belapan)


All these persons have the status of suspects in the case.

On Augut 9, the Investigative Committee said that TUT.BY's chief editor Maryna Zolatava allegedly 'admitted that that her staff was "using, for a long time and with her knowledge," login information to BeITA's  paid subscription.

That's why, 'with discovered circumstances in mind, and due to Zolatava's official post, she has been charged with official negligence under Article 425 Part 2 of the Criminal Code.'

According to the Investigative Committee, she was released from custody because of "her active cooperation with the investigation."

The maximum punishment under Article 425 Part 2 is imprisonment for a term of up to seven years with deprivation of the right to occupy certain posts or engage in certain activities.

The searches took place in the following media offices: Tut.by, BelaPAN, Realt.by, The Culture and Art newspaper (the staff confirmed the fact of the search, but refused to tell the details), The Science newspaper (the staff confirmed the fact of the search, but refused to tell the details). Investigative activities have also been carried out in relation to ITV company (website ITV.BY, cable TV). The company staff have refused to talk to journalists.


The police searched the homes of the following journalists:

1. Tatsiana Karavenkova (BelaPAN) - the police searched her apartment and her mother's house in the Hrodna region

Maryna Zolatava (Tut.by)

Hanna Kaltyhina (Tut.by)

Halina Ulasik (Tut.by)

Hanna Yermachonak (Tut.by)

Aliaksei Zhukau (Belarusy i Rynak)

Pauliuk Bykousky (freelance reporter for Deutsche Welle, a media expert)

Iryna Leushyna (Belapan)

All journalists facing charges under the case say they had signed non-disclosure documents.


On November 22, Maryna Zolatava, editor-in-chief of the portal TUT.BY, was served official charges.

Maryna Zolatava was charged under Art. 425 part 2 of the Criminal Code (Failure to act by a company official). The article envisages penalty from a fine to five years of jail.

Earlier she was also suspected under Part 2 of Art. 349 (Unauthorized access to computer information) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. The criminal charges against Zolatava under this article were dropped “due to non-existance of a crime”.

Thus, all 15 persons involved in the “BelTA case” have been served official charges.

In particular, the documents state that the journalists and editors allegedly "performed deliberate, for financial or other personal gain, unauthorized accesses to computer information stored in the computer system and network of BelTA unitary enterprise, accompanied by security breach, entailing other significant harm through negligence."

Criminal Charges Against Journalists Bykouski and Kuletski Dropped.

Pauliuk Bykouski informed BAJ about the dismissal of criminal proceedings. The criminal charges were reclassified reclassified under Art. 252 of the Criminal Procedure Code "in conjunction with application of administrative sanctions"

The Deutsche Welle correspondent in Belarus was one of 14 defendants in a criminal "BelTA case".

Also, the investigative committee dropped the criminal charges Uladzislau Kuletski, chief editor of the realt.by.

Article 86 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Belarus provides for exemption from criminal liability in conjunction with the imposition of administrative sanctions This applies to persons who have committed a crime of no serious public threat for the first time, and who covered the damage or payed back the proceeds of crime, or undid the damage in other way.



Statement on the Searches of Media Offices and Detentions of Journalists

Investigative Committee: Suspects in the BelTA Case Being Released. Zolatava admitted guilt PHOTO, VIDEO

BelTA case: Investigators start to release journos, two still in custody

RSF condemns raids on two independent Belarusian media outlets

Statement of the Belarusian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum In connection with the wave of searches in the editorial offices of the media and the detention of journalists

PPF concerned over detainment of Belarusian Journalists

The IFJ/EFJ condemn Police raid on independent media agencies

Article 19: Stop harassment of independent media outlets

Statement by the Spokesperson of the Secretary General on searches and arrests in Belarusian media

PPF concerned over detainment of Belarusian Journalists

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