Belsat Poland-based TV staffers held by Belarusian police

Six employees of the Polish Belsat satellite TV channel aimed at Belarus are being held by Belarusian police, Belsat head Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy told the Polish Press Agency on Tuesday. She added that the whereabouts of one Belsat cameraman are unknown.

Ms Romaszewska-Guzy said that one of the detained Belsat staff members has been sentenced to a 10-day prison term in Vitebsk, and a Belsat journalist in Grodno was severely beaten up in Grodno.

The detentions took place in the backdrop of the mass demonstrations in Belarus after last Sunday's presidential elections in the country, in which incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko allegedly won a landslide victory. According to observers, the elections were marred by numerous irregularities.

President Lukashenko said on Monday that the protests were being steered from Poland, Britain and the Czech Republic.

The Belsat channel is a subsidiary of Poland's public broadcaster TVP. It is funded by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international donors.

Subsequent repressions against journalists

A Polish journalist, Jan Roman from TV Polonia, was beaten up near a police station in Grodno, Belarus, and had to be hospitalised. The details were confirmed by one of the activists from the Poles’ association in Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut.

According to him, Mr Roman was waiting for other journalists to be released from the police station when a military car pulled up and “Spetsnaz officers who jumped out of the car began beating everyone.” He also said that Mr Roman was “kicked in the face and lost four of his front teeth.” After spending the night in jail and being fined, he was sent to hospital.