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Verdict passed on blogger and journalist Ihar Karnei

2024 2024-03-22T15:29:04+0300 2024-03-22T15:29:04+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On March 22, the Minsk City Court sentenced blogger and journalist Ihar Karnei for participating in an extremist formation under part 3 of Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code. Judge Siarhei Katsar presided over the case.

Karnei was detained on July 17, and his home was searched. Initially, he was detained for 10 days, allegedly for subscribing to ‘extremist’ channels on social media. Later, a criminal case was opened against him.

Ihar Karnei was a journalist for RFE/RL Belarus and is known for his essays and texts about Belarus’ cultural and historical heritage, as well as travel blogs. After his detention, Ihar’s family left the country.

Currently, there are 34 media representatives in detention in Belarus, according to BAJ.

State media reports that, "due to ideological and political enmity with the Belarusian state, Karnei allegedly cooperated with the extremist formation BAJ, which was liquidated by the Supreme Court in 2021 but continued its activity." In February 2023, the State Security Committee officially recognized BAJ as an extremist formation.

The charge against Ihar Karnei accuses him of "creating negative materials that insulted the head of state, representatives of the authorities, journalists, and citizens who do not support the unconstitutional change of power. In addition, his articles presented a false picture of the economic, social, military, and international situation of the Republic of Belarus".

He allegedly posted at least 54 pieces of information on BAJ resources between June 1 and July 14, 2023. He was detained shortly thereafter.

Judge Siarhei Katsar sentenced Ihar Karnei to three years in prison and a fine of 20,000 BYN (~$6,000).

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