November 1, 2023

01.11.2023 – Belarus Adds Journalist Pavel Padabed to List of Individuals Involved in Extremist Activities

Pavel Padabed (Павел Васільевіч Падабед), born on 13 May 1979, a freelance videographer, has been added to Belarus’s Interior Ministry list of individuals involved in extremist activities. On 30 June 2023, in the City Court in Minsk, Belarus,he was convicted of extremism and sentenced to four years in prison for his alleged involvement in an extremist formation, primarily related to producing video coverage of protests broadcast on the Belsat TV channel ( Padabed’s trial revealed that his phone was tapped, and messenger conversations were accessed by law enforcement.

Despite pleading not guilty, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Padabed was arrested on 20 January 2023, while at a post office, and his apartment was searched by the police, who confiscated his computer, phone, and video camera.

Initially, Padabed was accused of sharing “extremist content” on social media a decade ago, resulting in a 15-day administrative detention. However, just before his scheduled release, he was taken for interrogation and subsequently transferred to a remand center on charges of participating in an extremist formation. The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns this unjust treatment of Pavel Padabed, which is a concerning violation of press freedom and human rights.

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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