IJAS: We Request Serbian Authorities not to Extradite Andrey Gnyot to Belarus

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Source/Author: IJAS

The High Court in Belgrade decided again to extradite Belarusian journalist and activist Andrey Gnyot to Belarus, which is looking for him for alleged tax evasion, however, there is a well-founded suspicion that he is actually wanted for his activism.

The lawyer representing Andrey Gnyot before the Serbian courts, Filip Sofijanic, tells IJAS that the defense will file an appeal with the Court of Appeal on Monday.

“There is no deadline in which the Court of Appeals should decide on this, but I predict that it will be a month and a half. If a decision on extradition is made, in the end the Minister of Justice has the possibility to prevent the extradition by not signing the document, and that would be the last resort,” says lawyer Sofijanic.

The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia appeals to the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision of the High Court and release Andrey Gnyot, because there is a fear that he will be exposed to inhumane treatment and torture in prison in Belarus, but also because the charges are extremely dubious. We also appeal to the Minister of Justice, Maja Popovic, that, if the Court of Appeal confirms the decision on Gnyot’s extradition to Belarus, use her legal options and save the journalist.

Gnyot was detained upon his arrival in Serbia on October 30, 2023 on the basis of an international warrant issued by Interpol at the request of the authorities in Belarus due to the alleged accusation of tax evasion.

Meanwhile, on November 3, his lawyer submitted a request for the deletion of Gnyot’s data to the Interpol File Control Commission. In February 2024, Interpol temporarily blocked access to Gnyot’s data in its database, and according to IJAS sources, the process before the Serbian authorities is now conducted on the basis of bilateral cooperation between Serbia and Belarus.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), Belarus remains Europe’s largest prison for journalists, with 36 media workers currently behind bars. The country also has the highest rate of jailed journalists per capita in the world.

Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia

June 14, 2024