Journalists Sentenced to 10 and 12 Day Arrest


In two separate court hearings a blogger Dzmitry Halko and a journalist of “Radio Racyja” Aliaksandr Yarashevich were found guilty of petty hooliganism (art. 17.1) and disobedience to police (art. 23.4) and sentenced to 10 and 12 days’ arrest respectively.

The journalists were detained on May 6 in the evening: they worked near the detention center in Akrestsina where civil activists, politicians and other journalists gathered to meet arrestees of April 26th. After the event they were coming close to the nearest subway station, but were detained and brought to the Maskouski district police department.

The trials started at noon and finished only at 7 pm. The judge for Dzmitry Halko was Yauhen Hatkevich, and the judge for Aliaksandr Yarashevich was Tatsiana Matyl.

According to the detention protocol, Dzmitry Halko cursed in public and waved his hands; he argued claiming that he performed his professional journalist duties.

The duty officer said that he had compiled one protocol for both journalists, according to testimonies of the police officers who carried out the detention (Victor Zharski and Aliaksei Haroshka), and the journalists signed one common protocol of detention. In Yarashevich’s case it turned out that a second detention protocol appeared, it was written just before the trial started. The second variant differed from the first one. Testimonies of the two detaining officers also had some discrepancies. In particular, they gave different answers regarding the place of detention and actions of Halko, who in one variant grabbed them by the hands.

It should be remarked that judges forbid not only video and photo in court, but also audio recording. According to the instruction of the Ministry of Justice dated to 2006, filming, photo, video recording and live broadcast from court can be carried out only upon permission issued by the judge, with the consideration of all parties involved in the case. However, this instruction says nothing about audio recording, said lawyer of BAJ Andrei Bastunets. The Administrative Code and the Code of Executive Procedures says nothing about the use of audio, either. This way, it may be concluded that the decision to fordbid all types of recordings contradicted the principles of a public trial.

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