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Darya Chultsova
Дар’я Дзмітрыеўна Чульцова
Born February 20, 1997 (1997-02-20) (age 24)
Citizenship Belarus
Alma mater Mogilev State A. Kuleshov University
Occupation journalist, political prisoner
Employer Belsat
Known for broadcasting from "Square of Changes [en]"
Criminal charge(s) actions that attack public order
Criminal penalty 2 years in prison
Awards Journalist of the Year (2020)
Award named after Dariusz Fikus (2021)
"Honor of Journalism" (2021)
Axel-Springer-Preis (2021)
Courage in Journalism Award (2021)
Preis für die Freiheit und Zukunft der Medien (2021)
Free Media Award [en] (2021)

Darya Chultsova (Belarusian: Дар’я Дзмітрыеўна Чульцова, Russian: Дарья Дмитриевна Чульцова) (born on February 20, 1997, in Shklow, Mogilev Region, Belarus) is a journalist from Belarus. She worked for the television channel Belsat TV. She showed the event at the place where Raman Bandarenka was beaten to death in 2020. She was arrested there on November 15, 2020, in Minsk.

Early life, education and career

She was born in Shklow. At an early age, she became interested in journalism. While at university, she worked for the website "Mogilev.Online". She studied in the Department of Journalism of Mogilev State A. Kuleshov University, finishing in 2020. In 2020, she moved to the TV channel Belsat and worked there as a journalist.

Criminal procedure

Together with journalist Katsyaryna Andreeva, she became a person in a criminal case on organizing actions that attack public order. Both showed the event of a cruel attack of the police at the place where Raman Bandarenka was beaten to death and the people stood to support the dead one live. That took place at the "Square of Changes [en]" ("Ploscha Peramen") in Minsk on November 15, 2020.

She was not freed after the arrest there. Darya was moved to a prison in Zhodzina, where she was held until her court trial. On November 24, 2020, ten organizations (the Viasna Human Rights Centre, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and others) made a joint statement. It said that she is a political prisoner.

At a Minsk court meeting led by the judge Natalia Buguk on February 18, 2021, Chultsova and Andreeva were sentenced to serve two years in prison for pushing 2020 Belarusian protests. The state prosecutor was Alina Kasyanchyk, the detective was Ihar Kurylovich.

On April 23, 2021, Minsk City Court said no to a request to call off or change the sentence.

Reaction

Кіеў, 5 траўня 2021 года. Салідарнасць з затрыманымі журналісткамі тэлеканалу «Белсат» Кацярынай Андрэевай і Дар'яй Чульцовай
Kyiv, Ukraine, May 5, 2021. Support for Darya Chultsova (left), Katsyaryna Andreeva (right) in the middle of the picture

On February 8, 2021, the US Embassy in Belarus made a statement. It asked to make Chultsova and Andreeva free.

On February 15, 2021, support for the political prisoner was undertaken by Tony Lloyd, a member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Following the sentencing, on February 18, 2021, President of Poland Andrzej Duda made a public call to make Chultsova and Andreeva free.

On June 21, 2021, the European Council made a decision to put those responsible for the punishment of the journalists in the list of people and organizations sanctioned in relation to human rights violations in Belarus [en]. Judge Natalia Buguk was put in the EU blacklist for frequent decisions against journalists and protesters in connection to politics. One example of such verdicts was named. It was the guilty verdict against Katsyaryna Bahvalava (Andreeva) and Darya Chultsova. Prosecutor number two Alina Kasyanchyk was put in the list for the prosecution of the journalists. She was held responsible for indictment of both journalists for "making electronic motion pictures of quiet protests that were named 'conspiracy' and 'violation of public order'" without cause. Detective Ihar Kurylovich was put in the list for the preparation of the criminal case against the journalists. He had made the criminal case ready in connection to politics.

Awards

  • Together with Katsyaryna Andreeva and Katsyaryna Barysevich on December 10, 2020, she was named Journalist of the Year (2020).
  • Together with Katsyaryna Andreeva on March 10, 2021, she got the Award named after Dariusz Fikus by the Press Club Polska (Polish organization of journalists).
  • Together with Katsyaryna Andreeva and Katsyaryna Barysevich, on April 9, 2021, she got the Ales Lipay (the person who made BelaPAN) Prize "Honor of Journalism."
  • Together with Katsyaryna Andreeva on June 7, 2021, she got the Axel-Springer-Preis (a German award for young journalists).
  • Together with Katsyaryna Andreeva on June 10, 2021, she got the Courage in Journalism Award.
  • Together with Katsyaryna Andreeva on July 29, 2021, she was named the owner of the Preis für die Freiheit und Zukunft der Medien (a German award in the field of freedom of the press).
  • Together with Katsyaryna Andreeva, Katsyaryna Barysevich, and others, on August 12, 2021, she got the Free Media Award [en].
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