MINSK, January 12. /TASS/. A criminal case against Polish TV channel Belsat journalists Yekaterina Bakhvalova and Daria Chultsova, which charges them with organization and preparation of action flagrantly violating public order, has come to the Minsk Frunzensky District Court, Minsk City Court deputy chairwoman Nadezhda Antonik announced Tuesday.
"On January 12, Minsk’s Frunzensky District Court received the criminal case charging Yekaterina Bakhvalova and Daria Chultsova of [organization and preparation or participation in actions that flagrantly violate the public order]," the official wrote in her Facebook.
In accordance with the Belarusian law, the Belsat journalists, who have not been accredited by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, face up to three years in prison. The journalists were apprehended on November 15 last year following their live report from the Minsk "square of change," after the police dispersed the event dedicated to the memory of Roman Bondarenko.
The police officers conducted mass apprehensions, and later moved all commemorative items - candles, lamps, flowers - to the Minsk cemetery. Later, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered to remove all makeshift memorials and restore order.
Due to mass protests against the outcome of last year’s presidential elections, the so-called "protest courtyard" emerged in Belarus, where the residents express their disagreement with the authorities, organize snap mass actions and music performances. On November 11, one such courtyard, where the so-called "square of change" is located, was raided by people in civilian clothes, who started cutting off the white, red and white protest ribbons. The local man named Roman Bondarenko tried to stop them, a fight broke out, which ended in Bondarenko getting a head trauma. Later, he died in hospital.