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Belarusian Journalist Charged With Insulting Police

Kastus Shytal

Kastus Shytal

MYORY, Belarus -- Independent Belarusian journalist Kastus Shytal has been charged with verbally insulting police, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Shytal was arrested on October 7 while he was heading to the town of Myory in the eastern province of Vitsebsk. Traffic police stopped the car in which Shytal was riding and told him that his appearance was identical to that of a man suspected of breaking into a car.

Police then took him to Myory, where he was questioned about "verbally insulting the police." Police claim that Shytal used foul language and refused to show his identification when asked.

At his trial on October 10, Shytal pleaded not guilty and demanded the traffic police who detained him and claim he insulted them be brought into the courtroom to testify.

Judge Vadzim Drabysheuski agreed to that request and adjourned the hearing until October 17.

Shytal said his arrest and the charges against him are politically motivated. He said the local authorities wanted him isolated so he would not be able to cover the opposition "people's assembly" held in the nearby town of Dzisna on October 8.

Read more in Belarusian here