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Belarusian Journalist, Husband Jailed For Spreading 'Extremist' Content On Facebook

Iryna Slavnikava (left) and Alyaksandr Loyko (file photo)
Iryna Slavnikava (left) and Alyaksandr Loyko (file photo)

A Belarusian court has sentenced a journalist and her husband to 15 days in jail for sharing "extremist" content on Facebook.

Iryna Slavnikava, a representative of Belsat TV, along with husband Alyaksandr Loyko, were sentenced by a Minsk court on November 1, the Vyasna human rights center reported.

Slavnikava, who is also the deputy chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, and her husband were detained late on October 29 as they were returning from Egypt.

Polish-funded Belsat was declared "extremist" by the Belarusian authorities in July and had its website and all social-media accounts blocked.

The television channel extensively covered the mass protests after last year's presidential election that strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka claimed to have won in a landslide.

Dozens of news websites have been blocked in Belarus and independent media shuttered as part of a sweeping crackdown on information in the wake of unprecedented protests triggered by the election the opposition and West say was rigged.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, 28 journalists are currently behind bars, including two female journalists from Belsat, Katsyaryna Andreyeva, and Darya Chultsova, who were sentenced to two years in prison in February for their reporting of protests.

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