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“Journalists arrested in Belarus must be set free”

Dmitry Alimkin, Yuri Pavlovets, Sergey Shiptenko

The publicists arrested in Belarus must be set free and their cases must be dismissed, since they do not pose any risk to the public, Andrey Geraschenko, the head of the Coordination Council of Belarusian Public Unions of Russian Compatriots, told EADaily on April 19.

“I think they pose no risk to the public. It would be logical if they were set free on recognizance not to leave before the trial, considering that many of the participants in opposition’s unsanctioned manifestation were set free,” Geraschenko said.

He sees no violations of the Belarusian legislation in their articles. “As for the articles of Pavlov and Shiptenko I have read them and no questions have come up. Perhaps, there was certain indiscretion, but I found no violation of the law,” Geraschenko said.

He said the Belarusian media are flooded with reports about March 25-26 events, the Freedom Day, and the arrest of the publicists is gradually paling into insignificance in Belarus. “As for us, the Belarusian Public Unions of Russian Compatriots, we would like to see the guys in freedom and their cases dismissed. We would prefer not to return to that issue. At least, they must be released from pretrial detention center ahead of holidays and the Victory Day. They have been kept there for long,” Andrey Geraschenko said.

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He recalled that one of the arrestees, Sergey Shiptenko, paid much attention to history of the Great Patriotic War and the memory about it. It would be unfair if he remains in custody on Victory Day, May 9.

As EADaily reported earlier, three Russian journalists were arrested in Belarus in early December: Yuri Pavlovets, EADaily’s analyst, assistant professor at Belarusian State University of Information and Radio Electronics, Sergey Shiptenko, the editor-in-chief of New Economy magazine, and publicist Dmitry Alimkin. The journalists were arrested over charges of inciting ethnic hatred and may face 5-12 years in jail. They have spent four months in custody and earlier this month their arrests were prolonged for another two months. Noteworthy that all the three journalists advocated for maximum rapprochement of Russia and Belarus.

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