Judge rejects appeal against Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist’s detention

15.10.2021 Source: By BelaPAN

A judge of the Partyzanski District Court in Minsk on Wednesday turned down an appeal against the detention of Hienadź Mažejka, a reporter for the Belarus version of the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.

According to the Viasna Human Rights Center, Mr. Mažejka will stay behind bars until at least December 1. 

The journalist is being held in the pretrial detention center in Žodzina, Minsk region. He has been charged with inciting hatred and insulting an official under the Criminal Code’s Articles 130 and 369, respectively.

Mr. Mažejka is the author of an interview with a former classmate of Andrej Zieĺcer, a Minsk man who was killed by officers of the Committee for State Security (KGB) during a raid on his apartment on September 28.

Mr. Zieĺcer, a 31-year-old IT worker, is believed to have fatally wounded a KGB officer before being shot dead inside his apartment.

In the interview, which was posted on the night of September 28, a woman who went to school together with Mr. Zieĺcer described him as a good person who “always stood up for truth.”

On the morning of September 29, the Belarusian information ministry blocked access to, the website of the Belarus version of Komsomolskaya Pravda.

The move angered the Kremlin, which described it as a violation of media freedom. Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson later said that Mr. Mažejka’s arrest “cannot be approved of” if it was related to his journalistic work.

On October 5, Komsomolskaya Pravda announced that it had decided to close down its Belarus publication after “analyzing the events of the past year and particularly of the past week.”