According to the NGO Viasna, editor-in-chief Marina Zolotova (45 years old) and general director Ludmila Chekina (54 years old) were found guilty after a trial behind closed doors that lasted more than two months.
“The verdict against our colleagues is a cruel form of revenge for telling the truth to Belarus with Tut.by,” the Belarusian Association of Journalists said in a statement.
Marina Zolotova and Lyudmila Chaykina have been accused of tax evasion and inciting hatred, among other things, “ridiculous” accusations according to the NGO Reporters Without Borders.
The two women were seated in a glass case for the defendants at the sentencing, according to photos from state agency Belta. They were arrested in May 2021 and have been behind bars ever since.
Two journalists and a lawyer from Tutankhamun who fled Belarus are being tried separately.
Friday’s rulings are symbolic of Lukashenko’s harsh crackdown on any criticism of his rule since it was rocked by a major protest movement in 2020. For weeks, Tut.by covered the protests, which brought tens of thousands of people to the streets of Minsk and other cities to denounce Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election. Disputed, who has been in power for three decades.
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