A Belarus court Thursday sentenced Gennady Mozheyko, a reporter working for the pro-Kremlin Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi, to three years prison. The court found that Mozheyko violated Part 1 of Article 368 of Belarusian law by insulting Belarusian authorities. The court also convicted Mozheyko under Part 1 of Article 130 for inciting social enmity.
The Minsk City Court sentenced Mozheyko based on an alleged series of crimes committed from June 23, 2020, through October 2021. The indictment from Belarusian prosecutors accused Mozheyko of making negative, indecent and inadmissible statements about President Alexander Lukashenko in his online publications for Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi. Additionally, the indictment accused Mozheyko of supporting anti-Lukashenko movements and campaigning against Lukashenko’s government.
Belarusian authorities first arrested Mozheyko on October 1, 2021, in Moscow, Russia. One of the articles that brought Mozheyko to the attention of Belarusian authorities dealt with the killing of a Russian KGB agent. Mozheyko described the killer, Andrey Zeltser, as someone who stood for the truth. When Belarusian authorities came to Russia to seize Mozheyko, he attempted to flee to Germany. However, he was detained by Russian authorities before he could escape. Belarusian authorities charged Mozheyko on October 5, 2021.
Since July 2021, Belarusian authorities have repeatedly cracked down on independent media outlets, such as Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi. Mozheyko now joins the other 1,453 political prisoners in Belarus, according to Belarusian rights group Viasna.