Two journalists have been sentenced to two years in prison in Belarus for covering a demonstration against President Lukashenko. In order to broadcast the demonstration live, they have been accused of helping to organize the protest.
In today’s ruling, the women hugged each other in their cage in court and put a V sign for the attendees. Their lawyer said they would appeal the verdict.
The Belarusian Media Union responded, saying, “This is a political ruling aimed at deterring journalists from covering important developments in the country.” “This is an occupational ban.”
The two women, aged 27 and 23, from Belarus were arrested in November when they filmed a protest for the Polish channel Pelsat after an anti-Lukashenko protester died a few days earlier. The 31-year-old was said to have died after being assaulted by police, an order the government denies.
The country has remained unstable since President Lukashenko was re-elected in a controversial election in August. It is reported that 33,000 people have been arrested since then, among them hundreds of correspondents. Around ten journalists have been charged.
Polish President Duda demanded from Belarus pardon the detainees and said that the country must respect civil rights and freedom of expression.
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