It’s now been more than 36 hours since known contact with Meduza special correspondent Maxim Solopov, who was reportedly beaten and arrested while covering Sunday’s protests in Belarus.
Meduza was unable to verify some reports that Solopov was being held at a pretrial detention center in Zhodzina, about 40 miles northeast of the capital. The Minsk court responsible for hearing all administrative cases against the city’s protesters has no record of Solopov, according to his lawyer in Belarus, “Open Russia” human rights group attorney Anton Gashinsky.
New rumors circulating on Tuesday, August 11, that Solopov was jailed at a detention center on Akrescina Street in Minsk also couldn’t be verified. (No one named Maxim Solopov is listed as a prisoner at this facility and staff who spoke to Gashinsky said nothing about the journalist.)
According to the Belarusian Procedural-Executive Code, suspects being held for misdemeanor offenses cannot be jailed for more than 72 hours.
Maxim Solopov was arrested around 1 a.m., Minsk time, on August 10 during mass protests in the Belarusian capital. Eyewitnesses say police officers beat him up before he was detained.
Before he disappeared, Solopov told Meduza in a phone call that he was outside the Maxim Gorky Theater on Valadarskaha Street, where police had reportedly blocked in demonstrators and started dispersing the crowd violently with tear gas.
On August 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demanded the release of all Russian journalists now jailed in Belarus.