10 October 1997

Alert

Journalist Pavel Sheremet freed pending trial


Incident details

Pavel Sheremet

journalist(s)

released


(WiPC/IFEX) - On 8 October 1997, Pavel Sheremet, the Minsk bureau
chief of the Russian television station ORT, was released pending
trial. He was reportedly taken home in handcuffs under escort by
police officers. His release is on condition that he not leave
Minsk. Sheremet's lawyers say that his trial is due to start by
the end of October.





**Updates IFEX alerts dated 9 September, 6 August, 31 and 28 July
1997**


Background Information


Sheremet was arrested on 26 July 1997, along with a cameraman and
driver (both since released). He was charged under Article 80 of
the Belarus Penal Code with illegally crossing the
Belarus/Lithuanian border. Human rights groups question the
validity of the charges, and it is believed that they have been
brought against Sheremet in retaliation for his reports
criticising the Belarus authorities. Sheremet's arrest has been
met by protests by Belarus journalists, many of whom were briefly
detained as a result. In August, Sheremet went on hunger-strike
against his detention (see IFEX alerts).




Recommended Action


Send appeals to authorities:

  • welcoming the release of Pavel Sheremet pending trial
  • expressing concern, however, that the release was not
    unconditional, that his movements remain restricted and that
    trial proceedings continue against him
  • highlighting fears that the charges against Sheremet have
    been levied in retaliation for his criticism of the Belarus
    authorities
  • therefore calling for a review of the charges against him, that
    the prosecution process be discontinued and that he suffer no
    further harassment for his legitimate practice of his profession
    as a journalist




    Appeals To



    His Excellency
    President Alexander Lukashenko
    Minsk, Belarus
    Fax: +375 172 23 58 25 or 22 38 72


    Valentin Agolets
    Minister of the Interior
    Minsk, Belarus
    Fax: + 375 172 23 99 18







    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.



    eriodis@netizen.com.ar.





  • Source

    International PEN
    Writers in Prison Committee
    International PEN
    Brownlow House
    50-51 High Holborn
    London WC1V 6ER
    United Kingdom
    wipc (@) internationalpen.org.uk
    Fax:+ 44 0 20 74050339
    Belarus

    IFEX members working in this country 1

     
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