Yuliya Mudreuskaya

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Belarusian authorities detained journalist Yuliya Mudreuskaya in June 2022. She is being held in pretrial detention and faces up to four years in prison on charges of organizing or participating in gross violations of public order.

On June 16, 2022, several media reported that police in Minsk detained Mudreuskaya, editor-in-chief of ABW.by, a leading Belarusian automobile news website, and Yury Hladchuk, the outlet’s branded content editor. On June 16 and 17, the pro-government Telegram channel Center E published “confession” videos of the journalists, which CPJ reviewed.

The day before, screenshots of an internal ABW.by group chat were posted on ABW.by’s Instagram page by people who apparently took control of the account, along with a caption accusing the media’s journalists of “making a mess and exacerbating the situation” in Belarus during protests, according to reports.

In her video, Mudreuskaya is seen saying that she took part in the 2020 nationwide protests demanding the resignation of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, blocked the roads, and was subsequently detained by police officers, according to news reports

Mudreuskaya was charged with “organizing or participating in gross violations of public order” under Article 342, Part 1, of the country’s criminal code, according to Viasna, a banned human rights group that continues to operate unofficially.That charge carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Her trial began on September 19 at the Frunzensky District Court, Viasna reported. As of December 1, Viasna did not have any updates on the trial or its outcome, the group’s representative told CPJ via a messaging app on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal. 

In September 2022, CPJ called the Ministry of Interior’s press service, but nobody answered the phone. CPJ emailed the Belarusian Investigative Committee but did not receive any replies. CPJ emailed ABW.by but did not receive any reply.