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Darya Chultsova and Yekaterina Andreyeva: Journalists given two years in jail for overlaying a protest in Belarus

Journalists Darya Chultsova, 23, and Yekaterina Andreyeva, 27, have been detained in November whereas overlaying an illustration in reminiscence of an opposition activist who died in Minsk a number of days earlier than.

Native media reported that the activist, Roman Bondarenko, apparently died from accidents sustained after being overwhelmed by riot police. The Prosecutor Normal of Belarus introduced on Wednesday that an investigation into his dying has been launched however stated “that the involvement of staff of the inner affairs our bodies in inflicting Bondarenko bodily hurt has not been established.”

The courtroom on Thursday dominated that Chultsova and Andreyeva are responsible of “organizing an illustration that grossly violates public order.”

In line with the investigators, Belsat reported, the journalists allegedly gathered protesters by speaking about it on air, which then led to “interruptions of public transport within the space.” Chultsova and Andreyeva preserve they’re harmless.

“I’ve every little thing: youth, a job that I really like, prominence and, most significantly, a transparent conscience. I wish to dedicate all my vitality to the creation of Belarus with out political repression. I demand an acquittal for myself, for my colleagues and for a whole bunch of political prisoners,” Andreyeva stated at a earlier courtroom listening to on Wednesday, in line with native media.

Belarussian human rights group Viasna designated Chultsova and Andreyeva as political prisoners and stated fees towards them are drawn up due to their journalistic work. Belsat is a politically unbiased TV channel primarily based in Poland that primarily studies on Belarus. Its finances depends on Polish state subsidies.

Chultsova (left) and Andreyeva were detained in November while covering a demonstration in memory of an opposition activist.

A spokesperson for the US State Division condemned the convictions, saying they appeared “politically motivated,” and referred to as on the Belarusian authorities to launch all journalists in custody.

“Each Belarusian citizen is entitled to the rights supplied within the Belarusian structure, and Belarus has worldwide obligations to respect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceable meeting,” the spokesperson stated.

“We stand with the Belarusian folks of their aspirations for a democratic, affluent future and help their name for the regime to respect human rights and elementary freedoms.”

Belarus has been engulfed in mass protests since presidential elections in August 2020, after Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in energy since 1994, secured his sixth time period. Impartial observers stated the election was rigged, and tens of 1000’s poured onto the streets to demand Lukashenko’s resignation.

Riot police have cracked down harshly, beating and detaining 1000’s of protesters. CNN and different retailers beforehand reported on torture in detention facilities described by former detainees and their households in addition to persecution opposition activists confronted in Belarus.
“Simply have a look at Darya and Katsiaryna [the Belarusian spelling of Yekaterina] — sturdy, smiling, and saying goodbyes to their family members by bars. Lukashenka [Lukashenko] cannot break us,” exiled Belarussian opposition chief Svetlana Tikhanovskaya stated in a tweet on Thursday.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

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