Last month, another Belsat journalist Katsiaryna Bakhvalava, who also goes by the last name of Andreyeva, was sentenced to eight years in prison on the charges of high treason — on top of a two-year sentence she was already serving. Her colleague, Darya Chultsova, is currently serving a two-year sentence from 2021.
Slaunikava spent the last 10 months in detention. She was detained in October last year at the Minsk airport upon returning from vacation. Initially, she was jailed for 15 days for posting what the authorities deemed to be “extremist content” on Facebook.
In Warsaw on Tuesday and Wednesday, demonstrations took place in support of the journalist, with protesters demanding sanctions to be imposed on those who persecute journalists in Belarus.
“Journalists are not extremists, and dissent is not a crime,” the Belarusian Association of Journalists said in a statement Wednesday. “Belarusian authorities continue to persecute journalists for exercising their right to free speech.”
The Committee to Project Journalists on Wednesday condemned the sentence handed out to Slaunikava as “another example of the deeply cynical and vindictive nature of the Belarusian government.”