On 9 January, the TUT.BY case will be heard in the Minsk City Court. Ludmila Chekina, TUT.BY Media CEO, and Maryna Zolatava, TUT.BY editor-in-chief, are in the dock. The trial will be held in camera and considered by Judge Valiantsina Ziankevich.
Both defendants are accused of grand tax evasion, inciting social enmity, and encouraging actions that harm the national security of Belarus. The criminal articles carry a punishment of up to 12 years of imprisonment.
Ludmila Chekina and Maryna Zolatava have been kept in custody since their detention on 18 May 2021. The KGB put them on the list of "persons involved in terrorist activities". Both are recognized as political prisoners.
On the morning of 18 May 2021, law enforcers searched the homes of TUT.BY staff, as well as the company's offices in Minsk and provinces.
Fifteen people were detained that day. Charges mostly focused on grand tax evasion. Allegedly, being a resident of the High Tech Park, TUT.BY MEDIA received revenue not conditioned by the activities permitted for residents.