Criminal prosecution against TUT.BY and other journalists was terminated. In total, 15 journalists were accused of unauthorized access to data of the state-owned BelTA news agency.
The Investigation Committee granted the petitions of Galina Ulasik, Anna Kaltygina, and Dmitry Bobrik to replace criminal charges with administrative liability.
In addition to damage compensation (from 3,000 to 17,000 BYN), the journalists paid administrative fines of 30 basic units (735 BYN).
The criminal charges against editor Alexei Zhukov, TUT.BY editor Uliana Boboed and BelaPAN observer Tatyana Korovenkova were dropped too.
They are now treated as witnesses in BelTA copyright infringement case. Besides, the ban on leaving the country has been lifted.
Marina Zolotova, TUT.BY editor-in-chief and editor Anna Yermachenok, are still accused of criminal offenses and face a fine or five years of imprisonment.
Last week, the Investigation Committee granted the same requests from Deutsche Welle journalist Pavel Bykovsky and Realt.by editor-in-chief Vladislav Kuletsky.
International organizations, human rights activists, local authorities and foreign media expressed their concern and condemned journalists detentions.
The European Union (EU) called on Minsk to free journalists, stressing that such actions are in contradiction with Belarus’ international commitments.
The American, British, Swedish and Lithuanian diplomats visited TUT.BY to talk to its founder Yury Zisser, and expressed their support.
In addition, the EU delegation in Minsk promised to keep a close eye on the situation and showed their readiness to provide any help necessary.
Recall that on 7 August law enforcement officers searched offices of TUT.BY and BelaPAN news agencies. They seized computers and documents and detained several journalists for questioning.
The journalists and reporters spent several days in temporary detention facilities and were banned from leaving the country, pending an investigation.