Maryna Zolatava, TUT.BY chief editor of a new website, was repeatedly denied her appeal about the termination of criminal prosecution in the BelTA case.
She remains the only defendant in the ongoing prosecution against editors and journalists accused of unauthorized access to data of the state-owned BelTA news agency.
This is the second time Zolatava filed an appeal about the termination of criminal prosecution. In accordance with this article 86 of the Criminal Code, a person convicted for the first time of a crime not representing a great social danger or of a less serious crime may be relieved of criminal liability.
Administrative liability is possible if a person repaid the damage and it is thought that compulsory re-education measures are sufficient to secure their correction. TUT.BY chief editor is charged under Part 2 of Article 425 of the Criminal Code (inaction of an official – note BelarusFeed).
The penalty under this article ranges from a fine to five years in prison. In the near future, the case materials will be transferred to the prosecutor’s office.
The criminal charges for the other 14 journalists and editors of various media in the case have been replaced with administrative liability. In addition to fines, journalists were required to pay damages, with sums varying from 3 to 17 thousand Belarusian rubles.
International organizations, human rights activists, local authorities and the foreign media expressed their concern and condemned detentions of journalists. The European Union (EU) called on the official Minsk to free journalists, stressing that such actions are in contradiction with Belarus’ international commitments.