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Journalist sentenced to five years in jail in Belarus

On Wednesday, the Homiel regional court pronounced the verdict for Polish public broadcaster TVP journalist Iryna Slaunikava’s case. She has been kept behind bars since October 30 last year.

Judge Mikalai Dolya, who had previously sentenced the journalist in the ‘Tsikhanouski case’, sentenced Iryna to five years in jail. At the same time, the state prosecutor asked for a year less.

The journalist was found guilty under two articles of the Criminal Code: Article 342 “Organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them” and Article 361.1 “Establishment or participation in an extremist formation”.

The trial is being conducted behind closed doors since, according to Slaunikava’s lawyer, the body of evidence was so flimsy that Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime could not sentence her publicly without making a complete embarrassment of itself.

On Tuesday, Belarusian journalists held a rally near the headquarters of the European Commission in Warsaw, during which they sent a petition with a request to impose sanctions against those involved in the persecution of journalists in Belarus.

“Hundreds of journalists have been forced to emigrate, and many of those who have decided to remain in the country, have been put behind bars,” said the organisers of the demonstration. “Among them are former employees and contributors working for the [Polish] public broadcaster TVP SA and its subsidiary, the only independent television channel broadcasting in Belarusian, Belsat.”


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