Katerina Andreeva and Daria Chultsova worked on November 15, 2020 at "Square of Changes" in Minsk – they were streaming live from the scene. They were detained by riot police officers. At first, the journalists were accused of participating in an unsanctioned mass event and disobeying the demands of police officers – and arrested for seven days. But they didn't get out of prison: the administrative case was suddenly replaced by a criminal one. Katerina and Daria were charged under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code – "Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them."
Before the trial, the journalists were kept at a pre-trial detention centre. They were denied to meet their families. Human rights defenders recognized the journalists as political prisoners.
On February 18, 2021 the final court proceedings took place (the total duration of the proceedings was three days: 9, 16 and 17 February) where the court judgement was to find the Belsat reporters guilty and sentence them to two years of imprisonment in a low security prison.
In November 2020, when the girls had already been detained, we spoke to their colleague and editor Dmitry Egorov about how Katerina and Daria worked, and what Belsat TV channel was doing under the given circumstances.