Freelance journalists appealing against $1,000 fine

Freelance journalists and Belsat TV contributors Ales Lyauchuk and Milana Kharytonava have made an appeal to Brest regional court.

On March 18, Ales Lyauchuk and Milana Kharytonava were brutally detained by unknown men in civilian clothes in Kobryn. The journalists had their cameras seized from them. Four protocols were drawn upon them by the police for allegedly violating the mass media law and disobeying to the police.

On April 13, Kobryn district court imposed a fine of nearly 2,000 Belarusian rubles ($1,000) on them. But the journalists managed to get their equipment back.

“Our staff had been kept at the police’s and then in the court for six weeks. I believe this was done to impede our work. Our lawyer helped us get back the stolen equipment. Now the ball is in our court, but the judges will definitely be against us again. We demand Brest regional court cancel the decision of Kobryn district court that punished us for… being attacked and beaten by the police. We were also fined for allegedly making a news story. It would be logical if the regional court quashed the previous decision, but I doubt they will do it, because there is no independent judicial system in Belarus,” Lyauchuk said.