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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Belarus. The trial of the editors of the opposition Nexta channel has started in Minsk

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The Belarusian human rights center Viasna announced that the trial of the editors of the opposition project Nexta began on Thursday before the regional court in Minsk. Only one of the defendants – Raman Pratasiewicz – participates in it. The other two are being tried in absentia.

Sciapan Puciła and Jan Rudzik are outside Belarus and their process is to take place in absentia, under the so-called emergency proceedings. Pratasiewicz, formerly one of the editors of Nexta, was detained in Minsk in May 2021 after the forced landing of a plane on which he was flying from Athens to Vilnius.

The Belarusian authorities accused all three of violating several articles of the penal code, including inciting hatred, organizing protests and activities violating public order, calling for the seizure of power, creating an extremist formation or insulting Alyaksandr Lukashenko.

Separately, Puciła and Rudzik are also accused of conspiring to illegally seize power, financing extremist activities and discrediting Belarus.

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Nexta tweeted pictures of the trial and a video of Raman Pratasiewicz before the trial began.

Raman Pratasiewicz

Pratasiewicz is a former co-editor of the opposition channel Nexta, which was deemed “extremist” by the Belarusian authorities. He had previously been called a “terrorist” by the authorities. After his arrest, the blogger appeared several times in the state media, admitting his guilt and mistakes, as well as criticizing former associates from opposition circles. Before the trial, he told state media that he was “fully pleading guilty.”

Raman PratasiewiczStringer / Anadolu Agency/ABACAPRESS.COM

Together with Pratasiewicz, a citizen was detained in 2021 Russia Sofija Sapiega, his then-partner. Sapiega was sentenced by a Belarusian court to six years in prison.

During the mass protests in Belarus after the presidential election in 2020, considered to be rigged, bloggers from Nexta covered the course of the demonstrations and were one of the main sources of information about the situation in Belarus.

Main photo source: Stringer / Anadolu Agency/ABACAPRESS.COM

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