Belarus jails reporter for three years for article on KGB
March 24, 2023 06:17 AM
Belarus on Thursday sentenced a journalist who worked for a Russian newspaper to three years in prison for an article that mentioned the reclusive country's powerful KGB secret police, state-run media reported.
Moscow-aligned Belarus, ruled by President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, has forced most of the media to flee and jailed the remaining independent journalists.
Reporter Gennady Mozheyko was found guilty of insulting Lukashenko, as well as inciting national and social discord, state news agency BELTA reported.
Mozheyko worked in the Minsk offices of Russia's pro-Kremlin newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.
The reason for the probe against him was a 2021 article -- taken offline shortly after it was published -- on a shootout involving the KGB in Minsk.
Unlike Russia, Belarus still retains the name of Soviet-era institutions, including the KGB.
Belarusian police at the time said Mozheyko fled to Russia in the hope of getting to a third country, but he was deported back to Belarus where he was arrested.
Komsomolskaya Pravda closed its Minsk offices after his arrest.
Mozheyko's sentencing came less than a week after Belarus sentenced two senior staff of the country's largest independent website to 12 years in prison.
Last month, Belarus also sentenced a Polish-Belarusian journalist to eight years in prison over his critical reporting of Lukashenko.
According to rights group Viasna, there are currently 1,454 political prisoners in Belarus.
Minsk allowed Moscow to use its territory for launching its offensive in Ukraine in February last year.