Zmicer Zavatski

He was born on 28 August 1972, he disappeared without a trace on 7 July 2000 year. Belarusian journalist and TV operator. He studied at the Institute of Culture. From 1989 he worked in the Belarusian television. In 1994-1997, he was a personal cameraman of the President of Belarus Aliaksandr Lukashenko. Until 1997, he worked for the Russian TV channel ORT. From October 1999 to May 2000 he worked for ORT in Chechnya, where he took the photos for the film Chechen Diary

Chronicle of repression

On 26 July 1997 Zmicer Zavatski was arrested along with ORT journalist Pavel Sharamet for the report on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. He spent several months in prison in Hrodna. He was convicted of illegally crossing the border and sentenced to one and a half years suspended sentence. He was released on 5 September 1997 year. On  7 July 2000 he disappeared on the way to the Minsk-2 airport. The prosecutor charged four people with kidnapping Zavatski. On 14 March 2002, the court in Minsk sentenced three of the accused to life imprisonment in a penal colony, and the fourth to 12 years of imprisonment in a penal colony. However, the trial did not clarify what happened with Zmicer Zavatski. His body was never recovered and the circumstances of his presumed death were not explained. In 2002, The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed their concerns about the way investigation into this matter was conducted.

In 2005, Reporters Without Borders called for the declassification of the documents concerning Zavatski’s case.

On the initiative of Pavel Sharamet, the Belarusian Association of Journalists and ORT created the Zmicer Zavatski Award, which annually honors journalists of independent media.

Cases, concerning this person:

Other political prisoners

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  • Nasta Dashkievich
  • Yury Hadyka
  • Ales Czarnuszou
  • Siarhiej Antonchyk