European Commission condemns arrest of Belarusian journalist

Iryna Slaunikava. Photo: Belarusian Association of Journalists' Twitter account

Peter Stano, European Commission’s spokesman, told the Polish Press Agency that the sentence passed on Iryna Slaunikava, a Belarusian journalist working for Poland’s public broadcaster TVP, is an example of how the Minsk regime attempts to silence independent journalism.

TVP journalist sentenced to five years in jail in Belarus

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“This is another trial behind closed doors in which a representative of the media is sentenced for just doing her job. The EU emphatically condemns this, as well as all other examples of the persecution of media in Belarus,” said the EC spokesman. He added that currently, the Belarusian regime is holding 29 journalists in detention.

“We repeat our appeal to the regime to release all media employees from prison and to respect the freedom of speech, the freedom of media, and Belarusia’s own international commitments in this respect,” Stano said.

Iryna Slaunikava, a Belarusian journalist working for TVP, was eventually sentenced after a month-long trial, under two articles of the Belarusian Criminal Code: Article 342 “Organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them” and Article 361.1 “Establishment or participation in an extremist formation”.

Such and similar charges of this nature are often used by Lukashenka’s regime against dissidents from the democratic opposition.