European Federation of Journalists

Eleven journalists detained in Belarus this weekend

Picture credit: TUT.BY / AFP.

The wave of repression against journalists continues in Belarus. On the sidelines of the demonstrations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday against the disputed president Lukashenko, eleven journalists were abusively detained by the security forces. Nine of them are still in prison today. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) demands their immediate release.

The EFJ affiliate in Belarus, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), which continues to monitor any violation of press freedom in the country, issued today the list of detained journalists:

  • Catarina Andreeva (Belsat), detained in Minsk on Saturday;
  • Max Kalitovky, detained in Minsk on Saturday;
  • Aliaxandr Vasyukovich, detained in Minsk on Sunday;
  • Uladz Hrydzin, detained in Minsk on Sunday;
  • Larisa Shchyrakova, detained in Homel on Friday;
  • Andrei Tolchin, detained in Homel on Friday;
  • Ales Sabaleuski, detained in Mahilou on Sunday;
  • Zmitser Kazakevich, detained in Vitebsk;
  • Aliaxandr Chyhir, detained in Babruysk;
  • Zmitzer Pankawiec (Nasha Niva), detained in Minsk on Sunday;
  • Artsem Liava (Belsat), detained in Minsk on Sunday.

Since the fraudulent presidential elections of 9 August, 171 journalists have been arbitrarily detained by security forces in Belarus.

Zmitzer Pankawiec and Artsem Liava have been released, but the other nine are still in prison, awaiting trial.

“We demand their immediate release and call for an end to the multiple intimidations recorded in other cities,” said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. “We once again call on the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union to take concrete measures against those who rigged the elections and who are trying to build a wall of silence on mass demonstrations. What are we waiting for to impose sanctions on those responsible? What are we waiting for to send an international mission to observe the ongoing human rights violations?”

The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday her office was receiving “alarming reports” of the ongoing violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Belarus. “Reports continue to indicate unnecessary or excessive use of force by law enforcement officials,” Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council’s 45th session in Geneva.

Michelle Bachelet decried hundreds of allegations of torture by the security forces in the crackdown on protests in Belarus, calling for investigations into all reports of ill-treatment, and for perpetrators to be tried.