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Prosecutor Seeks Three Years In Prison For Belarusian Journalist


Belarusian journalist Dzmitry Halko (file photo)

MINSK -- A Belarusian prosecutor in Minsk has asked the court to give a three-year prison sentence to a journalist reporting on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where he was held by Russia-backed separatists in 2014.

The prosecutor told the court on July 16 that Dzmitry Halko was guilty of assaulting a police officer in the Belarusian capital in December.

Halko's trial began on July 10 and the court heard closing arguments on July 16.

Halko was arrested in April when entering Belarus from Ukraine, where he had lived for several months.

Investigators said Halko assaulted a police officer and broke his mobile phone after the officer visited the reporter's Minsk apartment after noise complaints from neighbors.

Halko denies the allegations.

Halko has reported for several independent media outlets in Ukraine and Belarus, where the press is strictly controlled by authorities.

After Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Halko travelled to Ukraine and covered the conflict between Russia-backed separatists and government forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

He was held by the separatists for several months before his release.

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