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TUT.BY chief editor's trial. Day 3 Updated

2019 2019-02-14T18:00:24+0300 2019-02-15T11:56:36+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Maryna Zolatava with her counselor in court. Photo by Viasna HRC

Maryna Zolatava with her counselor in court. Photo by Viasna HRC

In the Zavadski District Court of Minsk continues the criminal trial of Maryna Zolatava, TUT.BY chief editor, who is accused of omission of an executive.

Previously, the prosecution announced the accusation, BelTA representatives were interviewed.

Details of the first hearing

Details of the second hearing

The court heard the next witness, TUT.BY CEO Liudmila Chekina. She explained the duties of Maryna Zolatava and claimed that the chief editor could not issue positive orders to the staff of the editorial office.

The prosecutor and the judge tried to find out what influence Zolatava had over her subordinates. - The prosecutor clarified the degree of subordination of the former defendants in the case (Jermachonak, Babajed, Ulasik, Kaltyhina) to Zolatava, and their responsibilities. This is necessary for determining whether Zolatava can be considered an executive.

Chekina learned about the "unauthorized access" to information when the criminal case was initiated. The employees themselves do not deny that they accessed the BelTA website with passwords they knew. She does not deny that it is an offense, but the damage has been compensated.

Chekina also explained that Zolatava decided not to sign a contract with BelTA, as it was easy to use the publicly available information provided by BelTA.

Mr Kuletski, chief editor of media outlet, knows Zolatava personally, but haven't discussed the use of passwords with her. During the preliminary investigation, he said that Zolatava and Kaltyhina had known about the unauthorized access and had not considered it necessary to enter into a formal contract. Kuletski stated that some evidence was written down by the investigator, and it was not possible to make changes in it because of the pressure put on him. He claims to tell the truth in court.

"If I hadn't agreed with those readings, I would not have left the office. I was made to say that Zolatava knew about this (meaning unauthorized access)," explained the pressure Uladzislau Kuletski.

Uljana Babajed, TUT.BY journalist, said that she used the BelTA password which she received while she had worked at Komsomolskaya Pravda. She continued using the password after TUT.BY had hired her.

Babajed was held administratively liable for 19 reports that she retrieved from the BelTA paid subscription.

"For having read the 19 reports within a year and a half I paid 8580 rubles. Although BelTA doesn't provide a subscription to individuals, the bill was charged to me personally. In fact, one report cost me 451 rubles," said Uljana Babajed in court.

She proved that the news she had read in the subscription, had been publicly available on the BelTA website when she produced her articles.

A conversation with Maryna Zolatava about using BelTA materials happened only on March 19, 2018. From the discussion, Babajed learned that Zolatava hadn't known about her employees using of BelTA passwords before.

She also said that the chief of the investigative group yelled at her and asked why TUT.BY didn't write about Lukashenka. According to the witness, she thought that the case had a political background.

The trial will continue on February 15.

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