Belarus Seeks Prison Time For Journalists In Protest Trial
Minsk, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Feb, 2021 ) :Prosecutors in Belarus Wednesday called for two journalists accused of organising anti-government protests to be imprisoned for two years, ignoring appeals from the opposition and Western countries for their release.
The court request comes as President Alexander Lukashenko persists with a severe crackdown on critics, raiding offices of journalists and rights defenders and putting his opponents on trial.
Katerina Bakhvalova, 27, and Daria Chultsova, 23, were charged with "organising and preparing protests that grossly violate the public order", a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.
The case has drawn criticism from press freedom and rights advocacy groups, while diplomats in Western countries have condemned the trial.
The ex-Soviet country has come down hard on independent media, with journalists detained 477 times last year, according the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), and several facing criminal charges.