clearn.png
Monday September 27th, 2021 12:35AM

2 Belarusian journalists sent to prison for covering protest

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two journalists in Belarus were convicted Thursday of violating public order and sentenced to two years in prison after they covered a protest against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Katsiaryna Bakhvalava, 27, who also goes by the last name of Andreyeva, and Daria Chultsova, 23, both of the Polish-funded Belsat TV channel, were arrested in November after police broke down the door of a Minsk apartment where they doing a live stream of a demonstration in the Belarusian capital.

Addressing the court before the verdict, Bakhvalava vowed to continue working for “building a Belarus that won’t have political repressions.”

“I’m not pleading. I’m demanding acquittal for me and my colleagues,” she said, referring to other jailed journalists.

The two were charged with “organizing actions rudely violating public order” — accusations they denied.

The U.S. Embassy condemned “the political convictions and egregious prison sentences” for the journalists and urged authorities in Belarus “to cease the persecution and prosecution of journalists and media outlets for covering the news.”

“The United States reiterates that Belarusian authorities have a commitment to protect and uphold fundamental freedoms, especially those of assembly, speech, and the press,” it said in a statement.

More than 400 journalists have been detained in Belarus in the last six months, and at least 10 have faced criminal charges and remain in custody.

“We consider the sentence politically motivated, its goal is to scare all journalists to prevent them from fulfilling their professional duty to cover socially important events in the country,” the Belarusian Association of Journalists said. “That effectively amounts to a professional ban.”

The International Federation of Journalists denounced the ruling as “shameful and totally unfounded.”

“Today’s verdict is a clear attack on press freedom and we all stand together against this mockery of justice,” federation president Younes Mjahed said in a statement.

Belarus has been rocked by protests after official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office by a landslide. The opposition and some poll workers have said the election was rigged.

Authorities in the Eastern European nation have responded with a sweeping crackdown on the demonstrations, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the protests began, with thousands brutally beaten.

The United States and the European Union have responded to the election and the crackdown by introducing sanctions against Belarusian officials.

After the verdicts, Polish President Andrzej Duda asked the country’s diplomats to convey strong criticism of the crackdown on freedom of speech and civil rights to the Belarusian authorities, according to his top aide, Krzysztof Szczerski.

He noted that Poland is urging its EU partners to respond to the suppression of basic rights and freedoms in Belarus.

In a strongly worded comment, the head of the Belsat TV in Poland said sentencing the journalists was “proof that the political terror in Belarus is being tightened,” and she harshly criticized the EU for a muted response.

“Our employees must operate as if in a war and they suffer measurable losses," Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy said in an opinion piece posted on the Belsat website. "They pay with their personal freedom for promoting free speech.”

She vowed to take "the European Union out of its slumber and make sure that politicians take real steps instead of only offering words of indignation over the developments in Belarus.”

“I am very critical of actions taken so far, as being rather a pretense and hypocrisy,” Romaszewska-Guzy said.

___

Follow all AP stories about developments in Belarus at https://apnews.com/Belarus.

—-

Associated Press writer Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2 Belarusian journalists sent to prison for covering protest
A court in Belarus has sent two female journalists to prison for years on charges of violation of public order after they covered a protest against the nation’s authoritarian president
4:26AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Dutch lawmakers debate new law backing coronavirus curfew
Dutch lawmakers are set to debate hastily drawn up legislation underpinning the country’s coronavirus curfew after a judge ordered it scrapped earlier this week
4:08AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Even without listening, US lives in Limbaugh’s media world
Rush Limbaugh was more than just a radio host
4:04AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump-McConnell feud threatens Republicans' path to power
Former President Donald Trump is stepping up a political war within the Republican Party that could undermine the GOP’s ability to fight President Joe Biden’s agenda and ultimately return the party to power
12:17AM ( 4 hours ago )
Rush Limbaugh, radio king and architect of right wing, dies
Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio host who became the voice of American conservatism, has died
5:44PM ( 10 hours ago )
Ex-presidential hopeful faces trial in Belarus
A court in Belarus has opened a trial of a bank executive who had aspired to challenge the country’s authoritarian president in last year’s vote but was blocked from running due to criminal charges that he rejected as political
7:49AM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Elections
Belarus detains dozens of journalists, activists
Belarusian authorities have raided the homes and offices of journalists and human rights activists and detained dozens
7:32AM ( 1 day ago )
France votes on anti-radicalism bill that worries Muslims
France's lower house of parliament is voting on a bill that would strengthen government oversight of mosques and religious schools and crack down on polygamy and forced marriage
3:36AM ( 2 days ago )
Dozens charged in Capitol riots spewed extremist rhetoric
The attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has reignited the debate over how law enforcement should handle domestic extremist groups
12:24AM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Police rampage targets striking railway workers in Myanmar
Demonstrators against Myanmar’s military takeover returned to the streets after a night of armed intimidation by security forces in the country’s second biggest city
3:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
DIY education: Greek teacher creates TV classes for inmates
The director of a prison school in Greece has used donations and determination to make sure his students can continue learning during the coronavirus pandemic
2:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
Airbus lost $1.3 billion amid pandemic; expects better 2021
European plane maker Airbus lost more than $1.3 billion in 2020 amid an unprecedented global slump in air travel because of the pandemic
2:18AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Dutch lawmakers debate new law backing coronavirus curfew
Dutch lawmakers are set to debate hastily drawn up legislation underpinning the country’s coronavirus curfew after a judge ordered it scrapped earlier this week
4:08AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Even without listening, US lives in Limbaugh’s media world
Rush Limbaugh was more than just a radio host
4:04AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Farmers block trains in northern India to protest new laws
Thousands of protesting farmers have blocked trains by sitting on railroad tracks in parts of northern India to press their demand for the repeal of new agricultural reform laws that have triggered months of massive protests
3:57AM ( 32 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: What's up between Google, Facebook and Australia?
For two decades, global news outlets have complained internet companies are getting rich at their expense, selling advertising linked to their reports without sharing revenue
3:41AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Cost controls, luxury sales help Daimler weather pandemic
Tough cost controls helped carmaker Daimler increase its profits even during the pandemic
3:31AM ( 58 minutes ago )