Belarus: journalist Pavel Mazheyka sentenced to 6 years in prison
On 26 July, the Grodno Regional Court sentenced journalist Pavel Mazheyka to 6 years in a prison under the strict regime, reports the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ). The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) join their affiliate BAJ in Belarus in denouncing this outrageous verdict and the indiscriminate repression of journalists by dictator Lukashenko‘s regime.
Pavel Mazheika was detained on 30 August 2022 together with former lawyer Yuliya Yurgilevich. They were accused of transmitting information to the Belsat TV channel in February-March 2022, which was considered as “promoting extremist activities.” (the Belarusian regime has declared the Belsat channel to be an “extremist organisation” on 3 November 2021).
On 17 June 2023, on the eve of Pavel Mazheyka’s trial, his lawyer, Alexander Birilov, was deprived of his lawyer’s license. The trial began on 10 July 10. According to the indictment, Yuliya Yurgilevich and Pavel Mazheyka “as a group of persons, according to a previous conspiracy, provided other assistance to extremist activity, which was aimed in advance at planning, organizing, preparing and carrying out attacks on the foundations of the constitutional system and public security of the Republic of Belarus, discrediting the bodies of state power (…) by spreading knowingly false information for these purposes.” BAJ noted there is no direct evidence of the transfer of any information to Belsat in the case file.
The EFJ and IFJ denounce this fabricated trial and support the solidarity campaign in favour of the journalist. You can support Pavel Mazheyka by sending him letters or postcards, preferably registered (Pavel Ivanovich Mazheyka, Prison n°1, Kirova st., 230023, Grodno).