Journalists and human rights defenders are not extremists. BAJ considers it absurd that the organization was recognized as "extremist". STATEMENT
On March 7, it became known that the State Security Committee of Belarus recognized the Belarusian Association of Journalists as an extremist formation. BAJ became the first Belarusian human rights organization that ”received" such a status.
MINSK -- The prosecutor at the trial of two activists in Belarus -- Valeryya Kastsyuhova and Tatsyana Kuzina -- has asked a court in Minsk to convict the two women and sentence them to 10 years in prison each as part of an ongoing crackdown on dissent under authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Judge Maryna Zapasnik of the Lieninski District Court of Minsk decided that the guilt of human rights defenders of “smuggling by an organized group” under Part 4 Article 228 of the Criminal Code and “financing of group actions grossly violating the public order” under Part 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code has been fully proven.
Iryna Slaunikava, convicted to 5 years imprisonment for allegedly “creating an extremist formation”, reported vision changes that she attributed to bad lighting in the pre-trial detention center where she had been kept. The workload in the sewing shop of the Homel women’s penitentiary only aggravates the situation. Aliaksandr Loika, Iryna’s husband said that convicted women work as virtually free seamstresses in prison. They have almost no free time because of work.
Journalist Andrzej Poczobut was previously sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment.
Paris-Geneva, March 2, 2023 – Tomorrow, the Leninsky District Court in Minsk is expected to hand down its verdict in the case of Viasna leaders Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovic and Uladzimir Labkovich. On the eve of the verdict, the signatory organisations reiterate their calls to release the human rights defenders and drop all charges against them.
Law enforcers paid a visit to Aliaksandr Pazniak’s family home to specify his whereabouts. Pazniak used to work as a reporter at a regional media outlet in Brest. The reason for the increased interest was never disclosed.
RFE/RL journalist Ihar Losik was detained on 25 June 2020 and is now serving a 15-year sentence. He has recently been summoned to Baranavichy District Court hearing in March for the consideration of the debt recovery case.
Dzianis’ family believes he was transferred back to Hrodna pre-trial detention facility, but they have no information as to why it could happen.
On February 24 in Brussels, representatives of various international organizations were photographed with posters bearing the names of journalists killed in the war in Ukraine.