The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the arrest of Siarhei Hardziyevich (Сяргей Гардзіевіч).
On 14 September 2023, Siarhei Hardziyevich, born 1971, was detained at the Brest border checkpoint while returning from Poland to Belarus. On 2 August 2023, the Ivanava District Court sentenced Hardziyevich to 18 months in a general-security penal colony.
According to Belarusian Association of Journalists authorities examined Hardziyevich’s phone at the border crossing and subsequently arrested him, sending him to the Brest temporary detention center. Allegedly he faces accusations related to the distribution or possession of extremist content on his phone.
Hardziyevich was reporter from the town Drahichyn in Belarus for the independent online portal Piershy Rehijon (Першы рэгiён)- www.1reg.by.
It is not the first time that Hardziyevich was arrested. On 22 December 2020 he was detained and the Ivanava District Court in Belarus convicted Hardziyevich on 2 August 2021 on charges of insulting public officials, spreading libel, and insulting the president. Despite maintaining his innocence, he was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison and was recognized as a political prisoner. On 25 December 2021 he was placed under house arrest. He was finally released on 17 October 2022.
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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