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No release for Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist after initial 72-hour detention

06.10.2021 Source: By BelaPAN

Hienadź Mažejka, a reporter for the Belarus version of the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, was not released after the expiry of his initial 72-hour detention on October 5. 

Mr. Mažejka remained in the detention center on Akrescina Street in Minsk on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Komsomolskaya Pravda has announced that it will focus on assisting him.  

“We have hired several lawyers to defend our correspondent's innocence. We suspect that this will be long and routine work. We are also providing assistance to Hienadź’s parents, primarily material one,” the newspaper’s editor in chief, Vladimir Sungorkin, said on Monday.

On October 4, the Belarusian interior ministry officially confirmed Mr. Mažejka’s arrest. 

“Given numerous inquiries from journalists, we say that this citizen was arrested on October 1 by Belarusian law enforcement agencies in the territory of our state in the framework of a criminal case opened under Part Three of the Criminal Code’s Article 130, which penalizes incitement to racial, ethnic or religious hatred, and Article 369, which penalizes insults directed at an official,” Aliaksiej Biahun, head of the ministry’s Citizenship and Migration Department, was quoted as saying.

Earlier in the day, Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that if Mr. Mažejka’s arrest was related to his professional activities, “undoubtedly, such actions cannot be approved.” 

It was on October 2 that Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Mr. Mažejka’s arrest. 

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 website of the Belarus version of Komsomolskaya Pravda stopped being accessible to users by order of the Belarusian information ministry.

Commenting on the block, Mr. Peskov said that the Kremlin disagreed with it and considered it to be a violation of the principle of media freedom.

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