Ales Dzyanisau, Alyaksei Kairys and Kasya Lyaudatskaya are standing trial in Hrodna; according to prosecutors, the trio contributed to the news story about marking the 80th anniversary of composer and singer Czeslaw Niemen in the village of Staryia Vasilishki. It was part of the program Upon the Niemen produced also for the Polish channel TVP Polonia.
Although there are closing captions with the names of the authors (Fralou, Roman, Shota), Leninski district court started considering the case initiated under Art. 22.9 (illegal production and distribution of media products) against other Dzyanisau, Kairys and Lyaudatskaya.
When asked about the names, judge Dzmitry Bubenchyk, who has been repeatedly involved in ‘political trials’, flatly responded: “This is beyond your competence!”
Uladzimir Syanyuta (head of the Niemen Museum in Staryia Vasilishki) and Tomasz Markiewicz, the singer’s friend from the old days, were summoned to court as witnesses. The men are elderly, born in 1935 and 1947. They failed to confirm that three defendants had ever interviewed or filmed them.
“Some guys were filming, but I cannot remember… Did these people come to me? No. Those were not wearing beards And there was another girl – this girl is too young,” Markiewicz said.
According to the defendants, they did visit the village on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the famous Pole, but they had their own tasks, i.e. collecting materials for a would-be movie about the composer, interviewing Niemen’s contemporaries for a private archive.
“It is clear that the case has been fabricated case. The local police did not manage to fake reports flawlessly. Apparently, there has been pressure on witnesses: they just exploited elderly people. Their words included in the protocols were practically the same, but today they have stated in court, they do not remember us, do not recognise us,” Ales Dzyanisau said.
Interestingly, the real authors of the news item, Andrey Fralou and Yan Roman, were present at the hearing, but they were not questioned.
The final hearing has been scheduled for April, 24.
Because of the work in the ‘partisan’ conditions, Belsat employees are often on trial for illegal production of media materials and work without accreditation.
Thus, the circle closes: journalists are denied accreditation because they break the law and they break the law, because they work without accreditation that they seek. And it explains the existence of absurdist Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code. If you have accreditation, you are allowed be a journalist. If you do not have it – you are outlawed.