Yury Hladchuk

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Belarusian journalist Yury Hladchuk is serving a prison sentence of two and a half years after being convicted in December 2022 of insulting Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and “organizing or participating in gross violations of public order.” Belarusian authorities detained him in June 2022. 

On June 16, 2022, several media reported that police in Minsk, the capital, detained Hladchuk, the branded content editor for ABW.by, a leading automobile news website, and Yuliya Mudreuskaya, the outlet’s editor-in-chief. On June 16 and June 17, the pro-government Telegram channel Center E published confession videos of the journalists, which CPJ reviewed. Center E also reported that Hladchuk was charged with “organizing or participating in gross violations of public order,” which carries a prison sentence of up to four years, under Article 342, Part 1, of the Belarusian criminal code. 

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 his “confession,” which CPJ reviewed, Hladchuk is seen saying that he took part in the 2020 nationwide protests demanding the resignation of Lukashenko, blocked the roads, and subscribed to extremist Telegram channels. 

On December 5, 2022, a court in Minsk convicted Hladchuk of insulting Lukashenko and “organizing or participating in gross violations of public order,” sentencing him to two and a half years in jail, according to media reports, Viasna, a banned human rights group, and the Belarusian Association of Journalists, an advocacy and trade group operating from exile. CPJ could not determine the exact date of his sentencing. 

Hladchuk is being held in Prison No. 1 in the northern city of Novopolotsk, according to Viasna.

CPJ could not locate contact information for Hladchuk’s family. 

In November 2023, ABW.by announced its closure, following the arrest of the outlet’s director, Vitaly Polyakov, according to BAJ.

In October 2023, CPJ called the Belarusian Ministry of Interior for comment, but nobody answered the phone. CPJ emailed the Belarusian Investigative Committee but did not receive any replies.