Belarus must lift all restrictions on Irina Khalip

New York, July 17, 2013–As a court prepares to review the case of Belarusian journalist Irina Khalip on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on local authorities to end their persecution of Khalip and allow her return to a free life.

“Despite the injustice of her convocation, Irina Khalip has fulfilled the terms of her two-year sentence, through imprisonment and severe restrictions under house arrest,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “Rather than extend her persecution, and potentially imprison Khalip again, the court should immediately reinstate her full liberties.”

Khalip was convicted on charges of “organizing and participating in mass unrest” in May 2011, in retaliation for her independent coverage of opposition rallies against Belarus’s 2010 presidential vote. Khalip’s freedom has been severely limited since her initial imprisonment on December 19, 2010. She received a two-year suspended prison sentence in 2011, requiring weekly reporting to the police, a nightly curfew, and mobility limited to within Minsk. Khalip’s conditional release expires this week and a court hearing to review the status of her case is now due. On Friday, the court may decide to imprison Khalip for two years or retain the conditions of her release.