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Joint statement by Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ) and Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ)

We condemn the unprecedented violence against journalists, bloggers and other media workers during the 2020 presidential elections in Belarus. Escalation of Belarusian people’s protests against the rigged elections has grown into the movement for fair and democratic Belarus.

«Arbitrary arrests, detentions, brutal physical assaults, damage of the professional equipment, deportations, and other attacks against Belarussian and international media workers cannot be tolerated in the 21st century in the heart of Europe. It is the duty of the media to report on this national transition, as it is the acting Belarusian government’s responsibility to ensure safety of journalists and their free access to facts», said JFJ Director, Maria Ordzhonikidze. 

Andrei Bastunets, Chairperson of BAJ noted: «I am shocked by the escalation of violence in Belarus after the elections, including violence against journalists. I express my deep respect to all reporters and media workers who, despite the risk and persecution, continued to fulfil their professional duties and their mission to collect and disseminate objective and timely information about what is happening in the country.» 

According to the data collected by the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and other brave observers, there has been 181 reported attacks against media workers in Belarus between 9 August and today: 

  • at least 72 journalists were detained, 54 of which have been kept in the isolation detention centre up to several days, 10 were convicted and served an administrative arrest (between 5 and 15 days), 
  • at least 45 were physically attacked (beaten during detention or in the detention centre, injured by rubber bullets). 

The full list of media workers who reported being attacked during presidential elections and the following protests in Belarus is presented at the end of the statement.

JFJ is committed to support investigative efforts of the Belarusian and international media workers to identify individuals and organisations responsible for violent crimes against media workers. All criminals behind these attacks should be considered by the European Union as candidates for personal and institutional sanctions.

JFJ and BAJ call on United Nations Human Rights to take further necessary steps to ensure the violence against people of Belarus and the media workers covering the nation-wide protests stops immediately. Journalism is not a crime. A right of citizens to know the truth and choose their future is not a crime. 

Full list of journalists attacked in Belarus during the presidential elections and the following protests: 

Minsk 

  1. Vladimir Romensky, TV Rain – Brutally detained, search without the court decree, forced deportation, ban on entering the country for five years.
  2. Vasily Poklonsky, TV Rain – Brutally detained, search without the court decree, forced deportation, ban on entering the country for five years.
  3. Nikolai Antipov, TV Rain – Brutally detained, search without the court decree, forced deportation, ban on entering the country for five years. 
  4. Katsiaryna Tkachenka – Shot-term detention. Confiscation of smartphone. 
  5. Iryna Slaunikava – Short-term detention. 
  6. Stas Ivashkevich – Detained, placed to the detention centre, fined 30 basic units. Beaten during the detention. 
  7. Mstislav Chernov, AP – Beaten.  
  8. Aliaksei Hudanau – Detained. Beaten. Charged under Art. 23.34.9 of the Administrative Code.  Released after three days. 
  9. Semyon Pegov, WarGonzo – Detained. Beaten. 
  10. Vladislav Zizdok, WarGonzo – Detained. Beaten.
  11. Emilie van Outeren, NRC – Wounded by an unknown projectile during protests. 
  12. Mikita Bystryk, TUT.by – Detained. Beaten. 
  13. Yauhen Aleinik, Sputnik – Detained. Beaten. Charged under Art. 23.34.9 of the Administrative Code.
  14. Natallia Lubneuskaya, Nasha Niva – Wounded in the leg by a rubber bullet. 
  15. Kanstantsin Prydybaila, RT – Detained. 
  16. Vital Dubik – Detained. Beaten. Released after three days. 
  17. Alyaksandr Pashkevich – Detained, Charged under Art. 23.34. of the the Administrative Code., custody in the pre-trial detention centre. Released after three days. 
  18. Tatsiana Belashova – Detention. 
  19. Tatsiana Kapitonova – Injured during an attack by security officers in Minsk.
  20. Alena Dubovik – Detained. Beaten. Released after three days. Currently in hospital.  
  21. Yahor Martsinovich, Nasha Niva – Detained.
  22. Ilia Pitalev, Rossiya Segodnya – Detention. Released. 
  23. Uladzimir Luniou – Detained. Beaten. Charged under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Released after two days.  
  24. Nikita Telezhenka, Znak.com – Detained. Beaten. Spent a day in the detention centre. 
  25. Witold Dabrowolski, Polish journalist – Detained. 
  26. Siarhei Herasimovich – Detained. Released after three days.  
  27. Maxim Shved – Detained. Beaten. Released after five days. 
  28. Iryna Arahouskaya – Injured by rubber bullet. 
  29. Pavel Potapov – Detained. 
  30. Siarhei Ptushko – Short-term detention. Physically attacked. 
  31. Uladzislau Barysovich, Onliner – Short-term detention. Physically attacked.   
  32. Siarhei Gryts – Professional equipment was purposefully damaged.  
  33. Ivan Muraueu – Short-term detention.  
  34. Usevalad Zarubin – Beaten. Professional equipment was purposefully damaged, flash-card was seized.  
  35. Nadzeya Buhzan – Flash card with photos was seized by security forces.    
  36. BBC Russian Service, TV crew (three journalists) – Physically attacked by security forces.  
  37. Anton Liadov, Blogger – Detained. Beaten. Released after two days. 
  38. Maxim Berezinski, By.Tribuna.com – Detained, Charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code. Released the next day. 
  39. Kacper Siennicki, Magazyn Przedsiębiorcy – Short-term detention. 
  40. Raman Gadun – Short-term detention. Beaten. 
  41. Vital Tsyhankou – Detained. Beaten. Charged under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Warning. Released the next day.  
  42. Konstantin Revutsky, Hromadske TV – Detained. Released after two days.
  43. Yauhen Vasilyeu, Hromadske TV – Detained. Released after two days. 
  44. Liubou Luneva – Detained. 
  45. Zmitser Soltan – Detained. 
  46. Andrei Lychauka, The Village – Detained. 
  47. Genadz Mazheika, KP.BY – Beaten with a rubber truncheon.
  48. Maxim Solopov, Meduza – Detained. Beaten. Released after two days. 
  49. Anton Starkov, Daily Storm – Detained. Beaten. Released after a day. 
  50. Dmitry Lasenko, Daily Storm – Detained. Beaten. Released after a day. 
  51. Sergey Kamenetskiy, Ruptly – Detained. Released after four days.
  52. Alexander Kovalev, Ruptly – Detained. Released after four days. 

Babruisk

  1. Yauhen Hlaholeu-Vaskovich – Detention, Charged under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Released after eight days. 
  2. Ales Chyhir – Detention. Beating. Charged under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Released after seven days. 
  3. Yauhen Yushkouski – Detention. Released. 
  4. Andrei Shobin, Bobruisk Courier – Detention, protocol 23.34 of the Administrative Code, before the trial was held in the detention centre. Fine 10 basic units. Released on the next day.
  5. Maryna Mauchanava – Detention, Released without report. 

Barysau 

  1. Aleh Matskevich – Detention. Released.

Biaroza 

  1. Tamara Shchepetkina, Radio Racyja – Detained. Feels bad, in the hospital before the trial. Charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code.

Brest 

  1. Milana Kharytonava – Detention, released after eight hours in the police department. 
  2. Ales Liauchuk – Detention, released after six hours in the police department. 
  3. Stas Korshunau – Detention. Physical injury.  
  4. Siarhei Nikrashevicz, Bresckaya gazeta – Detained. Beating. Charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code. Released. Spent in in the detention centre one and a half day.  

Hlybokaye 

  1. Dzmitry Lupach – Detention, charged under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Arrested for five days in jail. 

Homel 

  1. Yauhen Merkis – Detained (09.08.2020), released without police report
  2. Yauhen Merkis – Detained (12.08.2020), charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code.  Arrested for four days.  

Mahiliou

  1. Alina Skrabunova – Detained, charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code. pre-trial detention centre for five days. 
  2. Aliaxandr Sidareuski – Detained, charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code, pre-trial detention centre for four days. 
  3. Aliaxandr Liutsin, Photographer – Detained. Released. 
  4. Anzhalika Vasileuskaia – Detained. Released.
  5. Darya Chultsova – Detained, spent 12 hours in the police department, charged under Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code. 

Pinsk 

  1. Yauhen Mikalaevich – Detention, charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code. Beating. Arrested for seven days. 

Slonim

  1. Yauhen Valadashchuk – Detention, charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code.  Fine. Spent 2 days before the trial in the pre-trial detention centre

Hrodna 

  1. Volha Kamiagina – Detained. Released. 
  2. Alyaksandr Saenka – Detained. Charged under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Warning.
  3. Alyaksei Kairys – Detained. Charged under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Warning.
  4. Sergey Lyudkevich – Detained. Charged under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Received a fine.
  5. Ihar Bublikau – Detained. Charged under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Received a fine.
  6. Ina Gryshuk – Forcibly detained. Released without a report.
  7. Alyaksandr Dzyanisau – Detained. Beating. Charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code, protocol for revision
  8. Ruslan Kulevich – Detention. Beating. Charged under Art. 23.34. of the Administrative Code, Arrested for three days.  
  9. Jan Roman – Detained. Beaten. Charged under Art. 23. 34 of the Administrative Code. Received a fine. 

Vitsebsk

  1. Dzmitry Kazakevich – Detention, charged under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Arrested for 6 days. 
  2. Vyachaslau Lazarau – Detained, released without police report. 
  3. Ihar Matveeu – Detention, charged under Art. 17.1 of the Administrative Code. Spent 3 days in prison before the trial.