Journalist Pavel Padabed not released after 72-hour detention

25.01.2023 Source: Служба маніторынгу Беларускай асацыяцыі журналістаў

Some details became known to BAJ regarding the detention of cameraman Pavel Padabed who “disappeared” under mysterious circumstances on 20 January.

According to the new information, last Friday Pavel Padabed went to the post office to make a payment. He never reached the next place he had intended to visit – suddenly, he could not be reached anymore. So there’s a good chance he was detained at the post office.

Pavel called his family to inform them about his arrest and a search of his home but did not specify the charges.

On 23 January, 72 hours of preliminary detention had passed, but the journalist was not released. It is not known where he is held at the moment.

This is not Pavel’s first encounter with the law enforcement system. After the 2010 presidential election and the ensuing public protests, the journalist was repeatedly arrested, including for covering a “silent march” in 2011 as part of the “Revolution Through Social Media” protest or during performances organized by the Tell the Truth campaign activists during early voting in the parliamentary elections.

In the fall of 2020, when Belarus was gripped by mass protests against stolen election results and the subsequent use of violence by the police, Pavel Padabed was also arrested for his journalistic work. The detention did not result in further persecution, though.

But the situation is radically different now – many people who documented the dramatic events of 2020 have been put behind bars. The relevant examples are videographers Aliaksandr Lubianchuk, who was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for “participation in an extremist formation,” and Ivan Murauyou, who received a two-and-a-half-year sentence on a similar charge.