Jubilee behind bars: Larysa Shchyrakova turns 50

14.04.2023 Source: BAJ Press Service

13 April marked the 50th anniversary of Larysa Shchyrakova, a Homel journalist and local historian. However, it is impossible to congratulate Larysa in person, as she will celebrate her anniversary behind bars.

Four months ago, on 6 December 2022, Shchyrakova was arrested after a search of her home. The police took her minor son Sviataslau to a children’s shelter. Over time, his father, who lives in Russia, came to collect the child from the facility.

Meanwhile, Larysa Shchyrakova was transferred to a pre-trial detention center. The ex-journalist is accused of discrediting the Republic of Belarus, however, the charge details are unknown as her lawyer signed a nondisclosure statement.

Her lawyer was forced to sign a non-disclosure statement. Shchyrakova receives care packages from her relatives, but she is not allowed any visits.

Larysa graduated from the history and philology department of the Francysk Skaryna Homel State University and taught history and English at school. Later she got interested in journalism and started working for independent media. She also launched her own project dedicated to the commemoration of people repressed in Soviet times. She recorded testimonies of their family members and created documentaries based on them.

Larysa Shchyrakova used to work for several independent publications. But back in 2021, she publicly announced her quitting journalism because of the harassment she had to endure for working without accreditation. The ex-journalist was held administratively liable over 40 times, including for her coverage of post-election protests.

She registered as an individual entrepreneur and started doing folk-style photo shoots. For that, she used her own rich collection of national embroideries, patterns and old household items of the Homel region.

We are wishing Larysa strength, faith, and a fast release.

Recently the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and unions of French journalists SNJ, SNJ-CGT, and CFDT-Journalistes issued a statement calling for the immediate release of Larysa Shchyrakova.