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Healthcare corruption whistleblower Siarhei Satsuk sentenced to 8 years in jail Updated

2022 2022-10-26T12:50:55+0300 2022-10-28T00:54:52+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Siarhei Satsuk |
Investigative journalist Siarhei Satsuk revealed many facts about state corruption in healthcare. |

On July 26, 2022, the Minsk Municipal Court passed a verdict in the criminal case of political prisoner journalist Siarhei Satsuk. Judge Sviatlana Bandarenka considered the case. It was not her first case against the free press—she was the one who convicted journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich for the article about the death of Raman Bandarenka.

Siarhei Satsuk was detained on December 8, 2021, after a search and interrogation by the Investigative Committee. He was held in the pre-trial detention center in Minsk until the trial.

As it became known later, the journalist was charged under three articles of the Criminal Code:

  • ‘taking a bribe’ (Part 2 of Article 430),
  • ‘incitement of hatred’ (Part 2 of Art. 130), and
  • ‘abuse of power or official authority’ (Part 2 of Article 426).

The reason for the persecution of the journalist was the high-profile investigations, which primarily concerned large-scale corruption in healthcare, according to Satsuk's colleagues. The facts he received revealed unprecedented “kickbacks” for the supply of expensive equipment, the purchase of unregistered vaccines that were basically tried out on Belarusian children, and the COVID-19 data fraud in Belarus. The Ministry of Health knew about these facts, the journalist claimed. 

The closed-door trial began on September 23, 2022. The prosecution asked for eight years of imprisonment for Satsuk. The court agreed with the prosecutor and sentenced the journalist to eight years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony.


Siarhei Satsuk was also deprived of the right to hold managerial and administrative positions for a period of five years, Viasna understands. In addition, the court ordered a civil money penalty of 12,000 Belarusian rubles ($4,750).

Previously seized property of a journalist—a car, several cell phones, laptops, a tablet computer, 11 flash drives, a voice recorder, and memory cards—will remain under arrest to secure the execution of the sentence.


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