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Journalist of "Current Time" fined for book from Ukraine

08.04.2021, 13:37
"Nastoyaschee Vremya"
"Nastoyaschee Vremya"

On April 7, a court in Belarus fined Minsk correspondent of “Current Time” (Nastoyaschee Vremya) Roman Vasyukovych for importing a book “Belarusian Donbass” which the authorities considered extremist, as “Current Time" reported.

Vasyukovich was fined 580 Belarusian rubles (around $217).

The journalist is going to appeal this court decision.

As IMI reported, on April 6 in Minsk (Belarus) the home of Roman Vasyukovich was searched. 

On April 7, the court continued consideration of an administrative case initiated against Vasyukovich over the book "Belarusian Donbass", he had imported from Ukraine.

The book "Belarusian Donbass" by journalists Kateryna Andreyeva and Igor Ilyash was confiscated from Vasyukovych on December 11, 2020, when he was returning from Kyiv to Minsk.

The book was sent for examination, and later Vasyukovych was charged under the article mentioning distribution, storage, transportation of extremist litterature. 

Then in court Roman Vasyukovich said that he did not even read the book bought in Ukraine, but bought copies only because he knew some of its authors. His defense also stated that the journalist did not intend to distribute the book.

The book "Belarusian Donbass" was published in the summer of 2020 in Kyiv. Ilyash told DW that this was "an inconvenient truth about the war in Donbass and the role of Belarus and Belarusian citizens in this conflict."

On December 11, 2020, Roman Vasyukovych, a journalist with “Nastoyaschee Vremya” TV channel (a project of Radio Liberty and the Voice of America ), was detained at Minsk Airport (Belarus) and then released after his laptop was confiscated. He was detained as he was returning from a business trip to Kyiv.

Roman Vasyukovich covers mass protests in Belarus.

In October 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus withdrawn accreditation of journalists of the Nastoyaschee Vremya TV channel, as well as all other foreign media working in Belarus. 

In August 7, 2020, three correspondents of “Nastoyaschee Vremya” TV channel, Iryna Romaliyska, Yuriy Baranyuk, and Ivan Hrebenyuk, who were covering the presidential election, were deported from Belarus. The current government banned them from entering the country for 10 years.

Current Time is a 24/7 television and digital network for Russian speakers, led by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in cooperation with Voice of America.

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