Two More Journalists Detained In Hrodna. Sentence to Be Passed on Mazheika on November 1
The sentence to the head of the Hrodna branch of civil initiative “Belarusian association of journalists”, a reporter of the closed newspaper “Pahonya” Paval Mazheika is to be pronounced on November 1, decided Leninski court of Hrodna after consideration of his administrative case on charges under Article 167 Part 1 of the Administrative Code (violation of the order of rallies, street marches and pickets).
Paval Mazheika may be punished with a warning, or a fine of 20 to 50 basic units (1 basic unit is about 9 USD), or by administrative arrest of 3 to 15 days. In Leninski court two more journalists, Anatol and Natalla Makushyn, were detained, and reports were lodged against them. Together with Mazheika they took part in the unsanctioned picket on October 4 and came to the court to support their colleague. The trial over the Makushyns is scheduled for Wednesday.
The hearings of Masheika’s administrative case started on October 27 after 3 p.m. Two and a half hours earlier he had been detained in the center of Hrodna by police. His detention was connected to the picket organized by 5 Hrodna journalists on October 4. They protested against increasing pressure on independent media. The reason for the picket was the sentence to Alena Rawbetskaya, Birzha Informatsyi editor-in-chief, who had been found guilty of spreading insulting information about the president. The journalists held posters “Journalists are tried in Hrodna!” On October 22 police inspector P. Lenets called Paval Mazheika and invited him to a police station for an “explanatory conversation”. However, Mazheika said he would react only to an official paper.