Two journalists have been sentenced to two years in Belarus for a report on a demonstration against President Lukashenko. Because they live streaming the demonstration, they were accused of helping organize the protest. Their lawyer has told the verdict to appeal.
At todays verdict, the women embraced each other in their cage in court and made the V sign to those present.
“ This is a political verdict designed to deter journalists from reporting on important developments in the country,” commented the Belarusian Media Association. “This amounts to a probation.”
The two women of 27 and 23 from Belarus were arrested in November when they filmed a protest in front of the Polish channel Belsat after the death of an anti-Lukashenko protester a few days earlier. According to activists, the 31-year-old man was killed after assault by the police, something the government denies.
It has been restless in the country since President Lukashenko was re-elected in controversial elections in August. It is reported that 33,000 people have been arrested since then, including hundreds of reporters. Charges have been filed against about ten journalists.
Polish President Duda has asked Belarus for an amnesty for the arrested and says that the country must respect civil rights and freedom of expression.