Journalist in Biaroza fined over work without accreditation
Independent journalist Tamara Shchapiotkina has been sentenced to a fine of 4.5 mln rubles. Commenting on the decision of the judge, the journalist said that the court had received orders from the security services.
“There was only one witness at the trial – it was manager of pharmacy No. 18. He said that a woman came, which was a little different from his testimony that he gave to the police. He said: “A woman came, she interviewed me and said that it would be on Radio Racyja.” I said that I agreed with a friend of mine from Radio Racyja that my interview would be published – it was not my interview, but simply information. I asked the witness, first of all, I apologized to the witness because he was a very frightened young man and had no experience in dealing with law enforcement or intelligence agencies – it was clear from. I said that I did not expect that an ordinary message would receive such a response. I asked him if I caused any injury or damage to him and his work. He said: “No”.
“The judge listened, but when I asked Mikalai Prakurat, deputy chief of the department of protection of Biaroza district police department, who wrote the offense report, “Why did you charge me? Did I cause any harm?” He could not say anything. The most interesting thing was that the police officer did not answer a single question, he just kept repeating: “You are working without accreditation for the Belarusian Radio Racyja. You have broken the law.” When I asked him: “Do you have any actual evidence, material evidence, or do you have my employment contract with Radio Racyja?” He said: “No”. The judge constantly me interrupted, “Why are you talking about some harm, why are you talking about the right to impart and receive information? You are not tried for this - you are tried for breaking the law.” And of course it was evident, although she left for 20 minutes, that she followed an order, because 4.5 mln is too much. Probably, the decision was influenced by the fact that Mikalai Prakurat reminded that in 2009 I received an official warning from the prosecutor. I believe that the whole trial was a performance, no other name for it. I felt beforehand that my facts and words were not taken into account, although the judge seemed to pay attention to them, it was simply a special order.”