Independent journalist Alena Stsiapanava to stand trial
A Vitsebsk member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Alena Stsiapanava is charged with violation of the Law "On Mass Media". The police believe that she cooperated with a foreign media without receiving the state accreditation in the due order.
On 9 July the journalist came to the Kastrychnitski District Police Department of Vitsebsk together with her lawyer and was presented the administrative charges by the senior inspector of protecting law and order and crime prevention Siarhei Viaraksa.
The police accuse the journalist of contributing to the foreign mass media "Radio Svaboda" without accreditation, a violation according to article 22.9 of the Administrative Code.
“The case materials provide such evidence as, for instance: policemen saw how I attended trials of activists and wrote down something in my notepad,” said Alena Stsiapanava. “Or someone saw how I was talking on the phone and telling some unidentified people about the course of events.” Based on this, they concluded that I work with the Radio Svaboda."The journalist refused to give any explanations, referring to article 27 of the Constitution (the right not to testify against oneself).In August 2012 Alena Stsiapanava received a warning from the regional prosecutor’s office for contributing to the “Czech editorial office of the Radio Svaboda”. Although such mass medium does not exist, she failed to overturn the sanction.
The case will be heard on 12 July in the Kastrychitski district court of Vitsebsk, at 3 pm. The journalist faces a fine of 20 to 50 basic amounts.