Belarusian journalist Dzmitry Halko escapes to Ukraine

Belarusian journalist Dzmitry Halko was sentenced to 4 years of penal labour for attacking a policeman. He appealed the sentence in a higher court but it has remained in force.

Halko was scheduled to come to the police on November 2 and receive instructions where to serve his sentence, he wrote on Facebook. The journalist even photographed his subpoena. 

His little son needs him more than the Belarusian police, Halko suddenly wrote on the evening of November 1. He left the country.

I have left Belarus indeed and am in [the Ukrainian city of] Mariupol now, Halko said on the phone. He added that he had crossed the border officially and did not violate the law.

“I visited the migration department to solve some issues not connected with the criminal case a few days ago. I was absolutely sure that I was forbidden to leave the country but decided to get the corresponding document. I was surprised to find out that I was not on the list of people who were forbidden to leave Belarus. That is why I do not like when people say that I have fled. I did not flee, I went abroad without violating the law.”

Dzmitry crossed the border by bus. He set off form Homiel and passed the border controls without any issues. He is happy to be with his family and little son. Dzmitry is not afraid of deportation.

“My case is considered to be political by several international organizations including Reporters Without Borders. Ukraine is a European country so they are unlikely to do something of the kind,” he said.

Halko is planning to spend a few days with his wife and son Nestor before settling down in Ukraine.