KYIV (Reuters) – A Belarusian court sentenced a journalist to eight years in jail for treason on Wednesday, handing her a new prison term on top of one she was already serving on protest charges, the Vesna-96 human rights group said.
Katsiaryna Andreyeva, 28, a journalist for Polish broadcaster Belsat TV, was arrested when reporting on mass protests in Minsk in 2020 and was sentenced to two years in jail for organising mass unrest, a charge she denied.
Belarusian investigators opened a new case against her in spring when she was still in jail and accused her of treason. Authorities have not disclosed details of the case and the trial was held behind closed doors.
Phone calls to the court after the verdict went unanswered.
Belsat, a Polish broadcaster focused on Belarusian news that Minsk has branded extremist, confirmed her sentencing on Wednesday.
State news agency BelTa cited the court as saying that Andreyeva was found guilty of handing over state secrets.
The journalist was declared a political prisoner by Vesna-96 after her first conviction.
The rights group estimates Belrus is holding about 1,300 political prisoners in Belarus.
Many of them were arrested during the wave of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko who has been in power since 1994.
(Writing by Tom Balmforth, Editing by Angus MacSwan)