September 5, 2023

05.09.2023 – Former Director of Belorusyi Rynok in the Republic of Belarus Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Defamatory Articles

In the case of Kanstantsin Zalatykh (Канстанцін Залатых), the former director of the main business weekly newspaper in Belarus Belorusyi Rynok (Белорусы и Рынок), the Supreme Court left the appeal unsatisfied, and the decision of the Minsk Court remained unchanged. The South East Europe Media Organisation condemns this decision.

Zalatykh has to serve 4 years of imprisonment. He was transferred to Navapolatsk (Наваполацк) Correctional Facility on 21 July 2023. This decision by the Supreme Court upheld the initial lower court ruling on 6 April 2023, sentencing Zalatykh to four years in prison.

The court found him guilty under four articles of the Criminal Code: art. 369 (Insulting a representative of the authorities), Art. 368 (Insulting the President of the Republic of Belarus), Art. 130 (Incitement to hatred), and Art. 426 (Abuse of power or authority). The session in the Supreme Court was held on 4 July 2023 behind closed doors, so the details of the hearing are unknown.

The charges against Zalatykh, born on 5 July 1969, revolve around several political articles, Zalatykh’s alleged offense lay in expressing his critical view on recent developments in Belarus, including making remarks about leading politicians.

Zalatykh was initially detained by the State Security on 18 May 2022.

On 1 December 2022 the newspaper ceased to produce its printed version; the website continued to function.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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