Two Belarusian journalists sent to prison for covering protest

Two Belarusian journalists sent to prison for covering protest

KYIV, Ukraine — Two journalists in Belarus were convicted Thursday of violating public order and sentenced to two years in prison after they covered a protest against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Katsiaryna Bakhvalava, 27, who also goes by the last name of Andreyeva and Daria Chultsova, 23, both of the Polish-funded Belsat TV channel, were arrested in November after police broke down the door of a Minsk apartment where they doing a live stream of a demonstration in the Belarusian capital.

Addressing the court before the verdict, Bakhvalava vowed to continue working for “building a Belarus that won’t have political repressions.”

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“I’m not pleading. I’m demanding acquittal for me and my colleagues,” she said, referring to other jailed journalists.

The two were charged with “organizing actions rudely violating public order” — accusations they denied.

The U.S. Embassy in Belarus has called for their release and urged authorities to stop prosecuting journalists for doing their job.

More than 400 journalists

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