Wednesday, July 20, 2011CJFE is disheartened to learn that Belarusian journalist Irina Khalip of Novaya Gazeta lost her appeal case on July 19, 2011. Ms. Khalip was originally arrested on December 19, 2010 after she reported on demonstrations connected to the Belarusian presidential election. She was severely beaten and held in isolation by the Belarusian State Security (KGB) for one month in Minsk, after which she was placed under strict house arrest. On May 16, 2011, Ms. Khalip was handed a two-year suspended sentence. While she has maintained that she attended the demonstrations as a journalist, Ms. Khalip was charged with organizing and participating in mass disorder. After the loss of her appeal case, Ms. Khalip has stated she will take her case to the Supreme Court and the UN Human Rights Committee. The International Women’s Media Foundation reported that Ms. Khalip told journalists she does not believe the Supreme Court will rule differently, but she intends to go through all the necessary steps in order to bring her case to the UN. “We have a nice judicial tradition,” she said, “whereby you know beforehand what will happen and what the judge with the prosecutor will say.” For more information on Irina Khalip, read CJFE’s letters to Belarusian authorities from March 7, 2011 and May 17, 2011. On International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011, CJFE highlighted the work of four female journalists, including Ms. Khalip, who have courageously worked under difficult and often dangerous conditions. You can read the article here. Novoya Gazetta, an independent newspaper known for being critical of governments of the former Soviet Republics, won one of CJFE’s International Press Freedom Awards in 2009.
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