Mikola Markovic, Pavel Mazheiko

Profession: chief editor of Pahonia, Hrodno and journalist respectively.

Sentence: One year and 18 months forced labour respectively.

Sentence commences: c. 31 August 2002.

Expires: Mozheiko – c. 31 August 2003 Markovic – c. 3 March 2004.

Details of charges: On 27 August, a lawsuit had been filed against Pahonia by the Grodno Regional Prosecutor re. accusations of libel against President Lukashenko. Article 5 of the Law on the Press. Among the contentious articles was a poem entitled I Promised, I Promise, I Will Keep Promising, author not known, Going to the Elections by Pavel Mazheiko, and He is not Lukashenko by Sergei Kraskevich.

Details of Trial: A first hearing against the paper was held on 23 October 2001 and on 12 November 2001 the newspaper was ordered to be closed down. Markovic and Mazheiko were additionally charged under Article 367 of the Criminal Code with slandering President Lukashenko and a first hearing was held on 14 February 2002, followed by several postponements. On 24 June 2002, both were sentenced to terms of two years “restrictive freedom” for Mazheiko and two and half years for Markovic. This new form of penalty requires those convicted to carry out hard labour under police supervision. An appeal hearing held 15 August 2002 was rejected, but the sentences were reduced by one year for each.

Latest developments: Both Markovic and Mazheiko were released in March 2003. Markovich took over the newspaper “Den” upon his release, but has faced numerous difficulties in resuming work.

Place of detention: Markevich – Mogliov; Mozheiko – Gomel.

Other: Amnesty International Prisoners of Conscience.

Honorary members: Czech, Netherlands and English PEN Centres.

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/honorarymembers/belarus/mikolamarkovicpavelmazheiko/

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