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

10.08.2018 Source: Belsat.eu

Tatsyana Karavyankova, a commentator on international affairs at news agency BelaPAN, was released from custody, BAJ press secretary Barys Haretski said on Facebook on Thursday evening.

Tatsyana Karavyankova

A bit earlier, the Belarusian Investigation Committee announced the release of TUT.by – Maryna Zolatava, Hanna Kaltyhina, Hanna Yermachonak and Halina Ulasik.

According to TUT.BY editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava, the investigators were polite, no one exerted pressure on her. As the woman is under gag order, she cannot comment on the circumstances of the case. Although the Committee states that Zolatava admitted her guilt, many aspects of the case are still unclear. The chief editor of TUT>BY media admitted her being aware of her colleagues’ illegal using the access to paid subscription of news agency BelTA, they say.

“This information is confirmed by the testimony of witnesses involved in the case. Given her actively cooperating with the investigation, the investigator decided to revoke the remand in custody,” the statement reads.

In addition, Alyaksei Zhukau, an editor at the website of the Belarusians and Market, was freed on Thursday. As he signed a non-disclosure agreement, he cannot even reveal whether he made any confession, the journalist told belsat.eu.

However, Deutsche Welle correspondent Paulyuk Bykouski and BelaPAN editor-in-chief Iryna Leushyna still remain in custody.

On August 7, an unprecedented wave of media workers’ arrests started in Belarus.

After Iryna Akulovich, Head of state-controlled news agency BelTA, had reported ‘illegal access to their premium content’, the Belarusian Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case under the article ‘unauthorized access to computer information, made out of personal interest, which caused significant harm’. According to the authorities’ version, some employees of the above-mentioned media outlets have used another person’s password and got information owned by the Lukashenka mouthpiece over the past two years.

Tut.by journalists Halina Ulasik, Maryna Zolatava, Hanna Kaltyhina, Ulyana Babayed, Dzmitry Bobryk, Hanna Yermachonak, BelaPAN editors Tatsyana Karavyankova, Iryna Leushyna and Andrey Serada, Deutsche Welle correspondent Paulyuk Bykouski and the Belarusians and Market journalist Alyaksei Zhukau were also detained. Later Bobryk, Serada and Babayed were later released. As part of the case, four journalists of the property portal realt,by were interrogated.

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