Belarus jails Belsat TV journalists for filming protest

A Belarus court has jailed TV journalists for two years on charges of fomenting protests, for filming a rally against the country’s leader.

Katerina Andreyeva, 27, and Daria Chultsova, 23, were arrested in a Minsk apartment block in November while live-streaming an unauthorized protest.

They are with Poland-based Belsat TV.

Mass protests took place across Belarus after Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in a presidential election in August widely condemned as rigged.

Belsat TV rejected the accusation that by broadcasting footage of the demonstration the two journalist had disrupted bus services in the Belarusian capital.

Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and on Wednesday a man once seen as his main challenger went on trial.

Former banker Viktor Babaryko was barred from standing in the election and arrested in June. He was accused of taking bribes and money-laundering when he was head of Belgazprombank – charges that can bring up to 15 years in jail. Seven former colleagues are on trial with him.

He has denied wrongdoing and his defence team says the case was fabricated to block him from standing against Lukashenko in the election.

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