Advocacy group demands medical care for jailed journalist in Belarus

Advocacy group demands medical care for jailed journalist in Belarus
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The Belarusian Association of Journalists is demanding medical care for a jailed journalist in Belarus on Thursday.

Andrei Skurko, head of the advertising and marketing department for Nasha Niva newspaper, was jailed at the beginning of the month after the newspaper was raided by authorities, The Associated Press reported.

He was first taken to a detention center that lacked a bed and access to his diabetes medication. The journalist was moved to a different detention facility and is now in its medical ward for suspected coronavirus.

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“Andrei Skurko is an insulin-dependent diabetic. For people like him, coronavirus can be deadly,” the Belarusian Association of Journalists said in its statement.

The group is asking the Interior Ministry’s penitentiary department and the Health Ministry to take Skurko to the hospital for treatment.

Along with Skruko, Nash Niva editor Yahor Martsinovich and two other employees were jailed at the beginning of July. They have since been released, according to the AP.

Thousands of citizens have been arrested since President Alexander Lukashenko was reelected as many said the election was rigged.

The government has been going after journalists and media outlets with more raids on newspapers being conducted Thursday, according to the group.

“We call on the international community to denounce the situation in Belarus. Each day, the authorities violate the media’s and citizens’ freedoms with impunity,”  International Federation of Journalists general secretary Anthony Bellanger said amid the situation, the AP noted.

The U.S. imposed air travel restrictions to Belarus after the government forced a plane to land to arrest opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich.