August 21, 2023

21.08.2023 – Andrei Skurko in Belarus Released After Over Two Years in Prison

Andrei Skurko (Андрэй Скурко), born 1978, head of advertising and marketing department at the independent media outlet Nasha Niva (Нашай Нівы / Наша Ніва), former editor-in-chief, as also editor in the Nasha Historyia magazine has finally been released from prison on 18 August 2023 after enduring two years, one months and 11 days arrested. Skurko’s release was confirmed on the website of Nasha Niva ( ), which operates exclusively online due to being blocked within Belarus.

Skurko’s arrest took place on 8 July 2021, leading to a subsequent 2.5-year prison sentence. He was charged in March 2022 by a Minsk court for Infliction of property damage without signs of theft according to Art. 216 of the Criminal Code of Belarus. He was put on trial for paying electricity bills for the media at residential tariffs, instead of the commercial rates assigned to legal entities. On the same day when he was arrested the website was blocked.

Allegedly the real motive behind the charges against Skurko, as well as the editor-in-chief Igor Martinovitsch (Егор Александрович Мартинович/ Yahor Martsinovich / Яго́р Алякса́ндравіч Марціно́віч) , born 1988, was to undermine the operations of Nasha Niva. The media outlet reported regularly about corruption and autocracy in Belarus. Nasha Niva has a long-standing history tracing back to 1906, as oldest newspaper in Belarus, and started again with publishing in 1991. In January 2022, the Belarusian KGB designated the editorial board of Nasha Niva and its website as “extremist organizations.”


Questions about press freedom and the need for an open and unbiased media environment in Belarus continue to linger, calling for international attention and advocacy.


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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