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Belarusian journalist and doctor sentenced to time in prison for disclosing information about opposition activist’s death

Source: Tut.by

A district court in Minsk has sentenced Tut.by journalist Katerina Borsevich (Katsiaryna Barysevich) and doctor Artem Sorokin (Artsiom Sorokin) to time in prison for divulging confidential medical information concerning the death of opposition activist Raman Bandarenka.

Borisevich was sentenced to six months in a penal colony and fined approximately $1,150. Sorokin was sentenced to two years in prison with a one-year reprieve, and fined about $575. The doctor was released in the courtroom on his own recognizance.

Borisevich and Sorokin’s trial, which took place behind closed doors, lasted nearly an entire week. People began gathering outside the court building about an hour before the verdict was announced on Tuesday, March 2. EU diplomats also came to the courthouse to support the defendants. 

Opposition activist Raman Banderanka died in a Minsk emergency hospital in November 2020; he had been admitted with severe injuries after being beaten up during an altercation over opposition symbols in a residential courtyard near his home. Borisevich and Sorokin were later accused of divulging confidential medical information concerning Bandarenka’s condition prior to his death.

The criminal case was launched over an article authored by Katerina Borisevich, in which she referenced medical documents confirming that Raman Bandarenka’s blood alcohol level was zero when he was admitted to the hospital. This contradicted allegations from Belarusian officials that Bandarenka was drunk.

Artem Sorokin was on duty at the hospital on the night Raman Bandarenka was admitted. According to Belarusian prosecutors, it was Sorokin who leaked the information about the opposition activist’s medical condition. 

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