Belarusian authorities detained journalist Yury Hladchuk in June 2022. He 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 Hladchuk, branded content editor for ABW.by, a leading automobile news website, and Yuliya Mudreuskaya, the outlet’s editor-in-chief. On June 16 and 17, the pro-government Telegram channel Center E published confession videos of the journalists, which CPJ reviewed, and reported that Hladchuk was charged with “organizing or participating in gross violations of public order.” If found guilty under Article 342, Part 1, of the Belarusian criminal code, Hladchuk faces up to four years in jail.
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 video, which CPJ reviewed, Hladchuk is seen saying that he took part in the 2020 nationwide protests demanding the resignation of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, blocked the roads, and subscribed to extremist Telegram channels.
The date of Hladchuk’s trial was not yet set as of December 1, according to a representative from Viasna, a banned Belarusian human rights group that continues to operate unofficially, who spoke to CPJ via 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.