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World Two Belarusian journalists sentenced to two years in prison for protest coverage

23:12  18 february  2021
23:12  18 february  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Two journalists in Belarus have been sentenced to two years in prison following their coverage of political protests in the nation.

a close up of a woman © Provided by Washington Examiner

Katsiaryna Bakhvalava, 27, and Daria Chultsova, 23, journalists for the Polish-funded Belsat TV channel, were convicted on Thursday after being charged with "organizing actions rudely violating public order," charges which they deny.

The pair were arrested in November. The police broke down their door while they were doing live-stream coverage of a protest in the nation's capital. Belsat reports that they were accused of gathering protesters by talking about the demonstration on-air.

TV journalists face three years in prison for reporting on Belarus protests

  TV journalists face three years in prison for reporting on Belarus protests TV journalists face three years in prison for reporting on Belarus protestsYekaterina Andreeva and Darya Chultsova, a reporter and a camerawoman for Belsat, were arrested in November after a demonstration.

MORE THAN 500 PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN BELARUS AFTER 90 DAYS OF DEMONSTRATIONS

"I have everything: youth, a job that I love, prominence and, most importantly, a clear conscience. I want to devote all my energy to the creation of Belarus without political repression. I demand an acquittal for myself, for my colleagues and for hundreds of political prisoners," Bakhvalava said during a Wednesday court hearing, according to local media.

The U.S. Embassy in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, condemned the sentencing in a Thursday statement and on Twitter.

"The United States Embassy condemns today's politically motivated conviction of two Belsat journalists and the outrageous conviction for informing the public," they said. "This judicial action adds to the evidence that the authorities’ objective is not one of justice but rather an attempt to silence the media and limit the Belarusian people’s access to information in order to further political aims."

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"The United States again calls upon the Belarusian authorities to cease the persecution and prosecution of journalists and media outlets for covering the news," the statement continued.

According to the Associated Press, more than 400 journalists have been detained in Belarus in the last six months, with at least 10 remaining in custody facing criminal charges.

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Belarus has seen many protests since August, when it was announced that President Alexander Lukashenko had been elected to serve a sixth term. Independent observers say the election was rigged in his favor.

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Tags: News, Belarus, Journalists, Prison, Protests

Original Author: Haley Victory Smith

Original Location: Two Belarusian journalists sentenced to two years in prison for protest coverage

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