On Friday, a Minsk court sentenced two executives of the independent news site Tut.by to twelve years in prison in the midst of a wave of repression orchestrated in Belarus by Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. According to the specialized public organization Vesna, the site’s editor-in-chief Marina Zolotova, 45, and its CEO Lyudmila Chekina, 54, were convicted after a closed trial that lasted more than two months. “The verdict against our colleagues is a cruel revenge for the fact that they, with the help of (their media) Tut.by, conveyed the truth to Belarusians,” the Belarusian Association of Journalists reacted in a press release. Marina Zolotova and Lyudmila Chekina were, among other things, charged with tax evasion and inciting social hatred, allegations that the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called “absurd”. Two journalists and a Tut.by lawyer who escaped from Belarus are being tried separately. Friday’s verdict symbolizes Lukashenka’s ruthless crackdown on any criticism of his regime after the massive protest movement that rocked him in 2020. For several weeks, Tut.by covered the protest, which brought tens of thousands of people to the streets. Minsk and other cities to denounce the controversial re-election of Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for three decades.
Source: L Orient Le Jour
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