Irina Khalip: I was threatened, beaten and detained for my reporting

On 2 April 1997, while covering a protest against the proposed reunification of Belarus with Russia, she witnessed her father, a documentary filmmaker, get beaten unconscious. She herself was clubbed by riot police.That incident only galvanised her to continue to expose corruption in Belarus, especially as a journalist for the Minsk bureau of the investigative paper Novaya Gazeta (the paper of slain reporter Anna Politkovskaya).

So the threats and assaults continued. In early 2011, Khalip spent a month and a half in jail and was given a two-year suspended sentencefor her role in protests against President Alexsandr Lukashenko’s December 2010 controversial re-election, largely viewed as rigged.Today, she lives under house arrest: she must tell police her travel plans, and is banned from moving or leaving Minsk for longer than a month. Police visit her home sporadically, often in the middle of the night She is basically raising her child singlehandedly: her husband Andrei Sannikov, who won the most votes among the nine opposition candidates with 2.43 percent in the 2010 election, was given five years in jail for his role in the protests. During his trial, he said the chief of Belarus’s security services personally threatened harsh reprisals against his wife and their child. Authorities also threatened to put their son in an orphanage. Khalip says she won’t stop reporting on rights abusesbecause «[it would] betray my friends. [It would] betray the memory of their husbands. There is only one way to go ahead.»

This is the first of 23 cases that will be highlighted during the IFEX impunity-campaign in November, suggested by Norwegian PEN and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.  See all the cases on this link.

Send appeals to:

President Alexander Lukashenko
38, Karl Marx Street
Minsk, 220016
Republic of Belarus