On Friday, four Belarusian women were sentenced to almost a decade in prison for criticizing autocratic ruler Alexander Lukashenko.
In two separate proceedings, tut. By’s leaders and two political scientists accused of subversion were found guilty.
The state prosecutor’s office said Marina Zolotova, tut. By’s editor, Lyudmila Chekina, its general director, was sentenced to 12 years.
In May 2021, the ladies and other employees were detained. Most were freed. Three more are requested.
Zolotova and Chekina were accused of tax evasion, inciting hate, and advocating for Belarus sanctions. The state news agency showed them handcuffed in a courtroom cage for a closed trial.
“It’s another effort to crush honest journalism in Belarus, but I believe that the truth will triumph,” tweeted exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, whose husband is imprisoned.
She also criticized the 10-year sentences given to Valeria Kasciuhova, a think-tank founder, and Tatsiana Kuzina, a political scientist.
Viasna said the two women were guilty of “assisting activities to gain power in an unlawful way,” advocating for national security threats, and inciting societal hate.