RFE/RL journalist Andrei Kuznechyk sentenced to 6 years
On June 8, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court considered in the closed-door trial the criminal case against freelance journalist for Radio Freedom Europe/Radio Liberty and political prisoner Andrei Kuznechyk who was accused of ‘creation of an extremist formation’ (Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code).
Judge Ihar Shvedau found Andrei guilty and sentenced him to six years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony.
Andrei Kuznechyk was detained on November 25, 2021. His apartment was searched. After the detention, the law enforcers briefly managed to seize control over Radio Svaboda Telegram channel. The next day Andrei Kuznechyk was sentenced to 10 days of administrative imprisonment by the Zavodski District Court of Minsk, but on December 5, he was not released and was again sentenced to 10 days of administrative imprisonment by the same court. However, on 15 December he was not released, either. On December 23, Andrei's relatives were informed that a criminal case was brought against him, but no information was given as to what article the criminal case was based on. Kuznechyk was transferred to pre-trial detention center.
Andrei Kuznechyk, 43, was born in Viciebsk. He graduated from the Philology Department of the Belarusian State University and completed his postgraduate studies. He worked for Komsomol'skaya pravda, Nasha Niva and RFE/RL.