Journalist Tamara Shchapiotkina warned for presence at commemorative picket
On 29 May the court of Biaroza district issued an administrative punishment in the form of warning to Radio Racyja reporter Tamara Shchapiotkina for ‘violation of public order during a mass action’.
The decision was adopted by judge Alena Niamkova, the monitoring service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists informs.
At the hearings that started on 20 May, Tamara Shchapiotkina explained that she was implementing her professional duties. On 29 March the author of the report, Biaroza policemen major Zhuk and captains Apolka and Dziamidovich were summoned to the court. Their testimony was very contradictory and even anecdotic. For instance, to the question of the judge why the policemen detained only Shchapiotkina, policemen answered: ‘She stood in our way, she stood on the fringe of the crowd’.
Finally Judge Alena Niamkova issued an oral warning to Tamara Shchapiotkina, basing on the fact that Tamara’s journalist’s accreditation had expired. At today’s session of the court the evidence that the journalist worked for Radio Racyja was ignored by the judge.
The journalist believes that policemen executed an order of other law-enforcing agencies and the warning was issued with the aim to intimidate not only her, but those who were standing in the square with candles to commemorate the victims of Chernobyl tragedy.