The trial of Iryna Slaunikava, a Belarusian journalist and contributor to Poland’s public broadcaster TVP, began in Homel on Thursday, June 23. This trial will be conducted behind closed doors.
The journalist has been in detention since October 30, 2021. She was arrested at Minsk airport together with her husband, Alyaksandr Loyka, in returning from holidays.
The trial is widely considered to be political. Proceedings are conducted behind closed doors, not even allowing for Slaunikava’s family to be present in the courtroom. The journalist’s lawyer believes the reason for the trial being conducted behind closed doors is down to the body of evidence being flimsy and unconvincing, that even the regime won’t dare to make the trial public. Salunikava will be facing up to seven years in prison.
Speaking of Slaunikava's imprisonment, Mateusz Matyszkowicz from the TVP Management Board said that “Lukashenka's government treats all those who state opinions opposing the regime or critical of it as extremists. This is particularly important now, when Russia is invading Ukraine and using Belarus as a staging ground.” Mr Matyszkowicz also appealed to international organisations to speak up in defence of imprisoned Belarusian dissidents.
According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), 30 journalists and media employees are currently being detained by the regime of Belarusan dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka. According to Viasna, a human rights organisation, there are at least 1,218 political prisoners in Belarus.