TUT.BY general director, sentenced to 12 years in prison
Date of birth: 13 July 1973
Date of detention: 18 May 2021
Art. 361 of the Criminal Code — Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus
Art. 243 of the Criminal Code — Evasion of taxes and fees
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred
Sentence: 12 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony
Judge: Valiantsina Ziankevich
Prosecutor: Tatsiana Hrakun
Prison: Pre-trial detention center No. 1
Statement on the status of a political prisoner
Godparent: Tessa Ganserer
Liudmila Chekina is the former general director of TUT.BY, the largest Belarusian independent online media.
She joined TUT.BY in 2008. At first, she was a legal adviser and then became a director. In 2017, Liudmila Chekina headed the TUT.BY Media company. Her colleagues say she is a very patient and kind person, who appreciates people, is always ready to help, and is looking for a way out of any situation. She loves reading, flowers, and animals—she has two cats.
Liudmila Chekina was arrested on May 18, 2021, as a defendant in a criminal case initiated against TUT.BY for 'tax evasion on an especially large scale' (Part 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code).
In October 2022, the KGB included Chekina in the 'List of persons involved in terrorist activities'.
Liudmila Chekina was charged under the following three articles of the Criminal Code:
- Part 2 of Article 243 ('Tax evasion on an especially large scale')
- Part 4 of Article 16 and Part 3 of Article 130 ('Organization of deliberate actions aimed at inciting racial, national, religious or other social hatred or enmity on the racial, national, religious, linguistic, or another social basis, committed by a group of persons or entailing grave consequences');
- Part 4 of Article 16 and Part 3 of Article 361 ('Calls for actions aiming to harm the national security of Belarus disseminated via the media or Internet').
On January 9, 2023, the Minsk City Court began the trial of the TUT.BY case. The trial was held behind closed doors from the very beginning. On March 17, 2023, Judge Valiantsina Ziankevich sentenced Maryna Zolatava, the former editor-in-chief of TUT.BY, and Liudmila Chekina, the former general director of TUT.BY, to 12 years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony. Liudmila Chekina was also fined 1,000 basic fines (37,000 Belarusian rubles—approx. $12,358).
TUT.BY leadership gets 12 years in jail
On January 17, the Minsk Municipal Court announced the verdict in the case of TUT.BY, the largest news outlet in Belarus TUT.BY. The former editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava and former general director Liudmila Chekina each received 12 years in jail.
TUT.BY chief editor's trial. Day 3
In the Zavadski District Court of Minsk continues the criminal trial of Maryna Zolatava, TUT.BY chief editor, who is accused of omission of an executive.