Minsk, 27 July. Andrej Skurko, head of the online publication Naša Niva’s advertising and marketing department, has been admitted to the medical unit of Pretrial Detention Center No. 1 in Minsk with “structural changes to the lungs” and suspected COVID-19.
According to Naša Niva, Mr. Skurko’s cell has been quarantined.
Journalist Alieh Hruzdzilovič, who spent some time with Mr. Skurko in the same cell before being released on July 26, told Naša Niva that when Mr. Skurko had been transferred to Pretrial Detention Center No. 1 from the detention facility on Akrescina Street, an X-ray had revealed a spot on his lungs. On July 18, Mr. Skurko developed a fever and a cough. He was given paracetamol pills.
Mr. Skurko has diabetes and needs four insulin injections a day. During the 13 days in the detention facility on Akrescina Street, he did not have special meals and did not receive food parcels from his relatives.
Apart from Mr. Skurko, Naša Niva Editor in Chief Jahor Marcinovič is also currently held in Pretrial Detention Center No. 1 on Valadarskaha Street.
Messrs. Marcinovič and Skurko were arrested on July 8 along with Naša Niva journalist Andrej Dyńko and accountant Voĺha Rakovič following searches of their homes, Naša Niva’s editorial office and its accounting office. All the four people were said to be suspects in criminal proceedings under Part One of the Criminal Code’s Article 342, which penalizes “organizing or taking an active part in group actions grossly disturbing public order.”
Ms. Rakovič was released on July 16. Messrs. Marcinovič, Skurko and Dyńko were not formally charged within the first 10 days of their detention. Instead, they were formally rearrested and put in custody for 72 hours as suspects in proceedings under a different Criminal Code article.
Mr. Dyńko was released on July 21 on a pledge to report when ordered.