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Human rights defenders call to release Siarhei Satsuk

2021 2021-12-10T13:16:06+0300 2021-12-10T14:08:47+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Joint statement by the human rights organizations of Belarus

December 9, 2021

On December 8, 2021, investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of the Belarusian online publication “Ejednevnik” (EJ.BY) Siarhei Satsuk was again detained. On the same day, his home was searched and he himself was interrogated by the Investigative Committee. The website was blocked.

After being interrogated in an old case under Article 430 of the Criminal Code (taking bribe), Siarhei Satsuk was taken into custody. He was placed in the pre-trial detention center no. 1 on Valadarskaha Street in Minsk.

Earlier, on March 25, 2020, Siarhei Satsuk was already detained within the frames of the same case. On March 26, 2020, he was taken into custody. On March 26 and 27, searches were carried out in the “Ejednevnik” office and in the journalist’s home. Following the arrest and detention of Siarhei Satsuk, human rights organizations adopted Statement, in which journalist’s detention and imprisonment within the frames of the criminal case preliminary investigation were recognized as disproportionate and excessive measures. This was considered as a politically motivated persecution of the journalist, aimed at forcing him to stop or change his activities in the sphere of disseminating information about corruption. The Statement included the demand of Siarhei Satsuk’s immediate release from custody.  

On April 4, 2020, the Prosecutor General of Belarus revoked the decision on Siarhei Satsuk’s imprisonment.

Siarhei Satsuk is known as an investigative journalist and editor. One of his high-profile investigations was a series of publications on corruption in the health care system of Belarus. A few days before Siarhei Satsuk’s detention, “Ejednevnik” started covering the cases of Belarusian “terrorists”.

We, the undersigned organizations, consider all these actions in relation to journalist Siarhei Satsuk as a continuation of the targeted policy of the authorities to limit the dissemination of uncensored information in the country and a continuation of the attack on freedom of speech. As of today, dozens of NGO and media websites have been blocked in Belarus, issuance of a number of printed media has been stopped, journalists and employees of the Belarusian media sector have been imprisoned.

Given the circumstances, we believe that criminal prosecution of Siarhei Satsuk is politically motivated and aimed at stopping or changing the nature of his legitimate public activities in the sphere of non-violent exercise of freedom of expression and dissemination of information.

Based on this and guided by para. 2.1 and 3.1 of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners adopted at III Belarusian Human Rights Forum, we, human rights defenders, recognize Siarhei Satsuk as political prisoner and call on the Belarusian authorities to:

  • immediately release Siarhei Satsuk and drop criminal charges against him;
  • refrain from using criminal prosecution as an instrument of pressure on freedom of expression, or other rights and freedoms;
  • immediately release all political prisoners, as well as other individuals detained in connection with their exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly in the post-election period, and stop political repression in the country.

Belarusian Association of Journalists

Human Rights Center "Viasna"

“Legal Initiative”

PEN Belarus


“Identity and Law”

Belarusian Helsinki Committee

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House

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