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Maryna Zolatava, Chief Editor of TUT.BY Charged Under “BelTA case”

22.11.2018 Source: Tut.by Story: Гучныя справы

On November 22, Maryna Zolatava , editor-in-chief of the portal TUT.BY , was served official charges.

Editor-in-Chief Maryna Zolatava, August 9, 2018, near the building of the Central Office of the Investigative Committee. Photo: Stanislau Sharshukou, TUT.BY

Maryna Zolatava was charged under Art. 425 part 2 of the Criminal Code (Failure to act by a company official). The article envisages penalty from a fine to five years of jail.

Earlier she was also suspected under Part 2 of Art. 349 (Unauthorized access to computer information) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. The criminal charges against Zolatava under this article were dropped “due to non-existance of a crime”.

Thus, all 15 persons involved in the “BelTA case” have been served official charges.

In particular, the documents state that the journalists and editors allegedly "performed deliberate, for financial or other personal gain, unauthorized accesses to computer information stored in the computer system and network of BelTA unitary enterprise, accompanied by security breach, entailing other significant harm through negligence."

Alleged amounts of damage were charged to all defendants.  Its amounts range from 3 to 17 thousand BYN.

Criminal Charges Against Journalists Bykouski and Kuletski Dropped +DOCUMENT

On August 7-9, the police searched the offices of TUT.BY, BelaPAN news agency and other media outlets, as well as journalists' private apartments.

The authorities detained Maryna Zolatava, chief editor of TUT.BY, TUT.BY's editors Hanna Kaltyhina, Halina Ulasik, and Hanna Yarmachonak, BelaPAN's chief editor Iryna Leushyna and its commentator on international affairs Tatsiana Karavenkova, Deutsche Welle's correspondent Pauliuk Bykouski, and editor of Belorusy i Rynok website Aliaksei Zhukau.

They all spent several days in custody. Being suspects in the case, most of them are under travel restrictions.

The Investigative Committee suspects journalists of unauthorized access to computer information of BelTA, state-owned news agency. Independent analysts are convinced that BelTA case is an attempt to intimidate and take the leading non-state media under control. The journalists face fines and even jail terms.