Victim of persecution? Journalist Halko may be sentenced to 3 years in jail

A prosecuting official demands that journalist and blogger Zmitser Halko be sentenced to three years in prison. He is accused of attacking a policeman.

Art. 364 of the Criminal Code (Violence or threats of violence against law enforcers) provides for six years of imprisonment as maximum penalty. However, the prosecutor took good references into account.

Halko has been in jail for more than 2.5 months. His trial began on July 10 in Savetski district court of Minsk.

The incident, which became a basis for criminal prosecution, took place in November 2017. The son of Halko celebrated his 15th birthday in an apartment in Minsk. There were also his friends at the party and Zmitser (there were about 17 people). In the evening, because of the noise, the neighbors called the police. According to the investigation, when the police entered the apartment, they had a conflict with Zmitser Halko, and the journalist allegedly used force against law enforcement, i.e. hit a policeman on his arm and head, tore his uniform and cursed. Halko himself refutes these charges.

According to his lawyer Natalya Matskevich, as police officers illegally broke into the apartment and began filming, the criminal article above cannot be used against the journalist. about an attack on a police officer.

The international journalist organization ‘Reporters Without Borders’ has called for the immediate release of Zmitser Halko. In a special statement, RSF noted that Halko became ‘an obvious victim of persecution’. The document notes that the persecution of a journalist ‘has signs of an act of revenge’ for professional activity.