Belarusian Association of Journalists strongly condemns the court decision on the case of journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsiom Sarokin They were found guilty of disclosing a medical secret (part 3 of article 178 — "Disclosure of medical secrets, which led to grave consequences").
Journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich was sentenced to 6 months in prison camp, she also has to pay a fine of 100 basic units. According to her lawyers, in view of the time she has already spent in jail, she will be released in two and a half months.
Emergency hospital doctor Artsiom Sarokin was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for one year and a fine of 50 basic units. He was released in the courtroom.
The hearing was closed for public, witnesses and lawyers signed a pledge of confidentiality.
International human rights organization Amnesty International has recognized journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsiom Sarokin, arrested for reporting on the death of Raman Bandarenka, prisoners of conscience.
We consider the verdict as politically motivated, aiming to intimidate all media workers so they stop doing their job of reporting on socially importants events in the country, which in fact means a ban on the profession.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists reiterates that freedom of expression and the right to impart information are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the international legal obligations of Belarus (in particular, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).
The Belarusian Association of Journalists demands:
- review the judgement on the case of journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsiom Sarokin
- release journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich from custody;
- stop the persecution of journalists and media in the country.
We call on the Belarusian and international community to join these demands.