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.”
“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