investigative journalist, sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment
Date of birth: 15 April 1968
Date of detention: 8 December 2021
Art. 430 of the Criminal Code — Taking a bribe
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred
Art. 426 of the Criminal Code: Abuse of power or authority
Sentence: 8 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony
Prison sentence start date: 15 March 2023
Judge: Sviatlana Bandarenka
Prison: Penal colony No. 15
Statement on the status of a political prisoner
Godparent: Swantje Michaelsen, member of the German Bundestag
Siarhei Satsuk is an investigative journalist and the editor-in-chief of the Belarusian online media Ejednevnik (EJ.BY).
He was detained on December 8, 2021. His home was searched and he was interrogated by the Investigative Committee. After being interrogated in an old case under Article 430 of the Criminal Code ("taking bribe"), Siarhei Satsuk was taken into custody and placed in the pre-trial detention center in Minsk.
Earlier, on March 25, 2020, Siarhei Satsuk was already detained within the frames of the same case. On March 26, 2020, he was taken into custody. On March 26 and 27, searches were carried out in the “Ejednevnik” office and in the journalist’s home. Following the arrest and detention of Siarhei Satsuk, human rights organizations adopted the Statement, in which the journalist’s detention and imprisonment within the preliminary criminal investigation were recognized as disproportionate and excessive measures. This was considered as politically motivated persecution of the journalist, aimed at forcing him to stop or change his activities in the sphere of disseminating information about corruption. The Statement included the demand of Siarhei Satsuk’s immediate release from custody. On April 4, 2020, the Prosecutor General of Belarus revoked the decision on Siarhei Satsuk’s imprisonment.
The closed-door trial began on September 23, 2022. The prosecution asked for eight years of imprisonment for Satsuk. Judge Sviatlana Bandarenka of the Minsk Municipal Court agreed with the prosecutor and sentenced the journalist to eight years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony. Siarhei Satsuk was also deprived of the right to hold managerial and administrative positions for a period of five years, as Viasna understands. In addition, the court ordered a civil money penalty of 12,000 Belarusian rubles ($4,750).
In November, Satsuk was transferred from remand prison #1 in Minsk to prison #4 in Mahilioŭ. There, the political prisoner's health is deteriorating: he has heart problems and other diseases are aggravated, but he is not given the required amount of pills. The journalist is also regularly transferred from one cell to another for unknown reasons.