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Serbia: Halt the extradition of Andrej Hniot to Belarus

Last update: 24 June 2024
Serbia: Halt the extradition of Andrej Hniot to Belarus

PEN Belarus joins the statement of PEN International regarding Andrej Hniot.

24 June 2024: Belarusian filmmaker and journalist Andrej Hniot is at risk of forcible repatriation to Belarus, where it is highly likely that he will be subjected to arbitrary detention and torture. Arrested upon his arrival in Belgrade in October 2023 on trumped-up charges of tax evasion, Hniot was placed under house arrest in June 2024 after Serbia’s High Court ruled for his extradition. A decision on his appeal is pending.

Serbia is obliged under international law not to deport, expel, return or extradite any person to a country where they are at risk of serious human rights abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment. The Serbian authorities must halt the extradition of Hniot to Belarus as a matter of urgency and release him immediately.



Please send appeals to the authorities of Serbia, urging them to:

  • Halt the extradition of Andrej Hniot to Belarus and release him immediately;
  • Ensure that, pending his release from house arrest, he is provided with adequate health care.

Send appeals to:

Aleksandar Vučić

Role: President of the Republic of Serbia

Email: [email protected]

Miloš Vučević

Role: Head of the Government of the Republic of Serbia

Email: [email protected]

Maja Popović

Role: Minister of Justice of the Republic of Serbia

Email: [email protected]

Ivica Dačić

Role: Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia

Email: [email protected]

Send copies to the Embassy of Serbia in your own country. Embassy addresses may be found here: https://www.mfa.gov.rs/en/diplomatic-missions/serbian-diplomatic-missions/embassies

Please reach out to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic representatives in Serbia, calling on them to raise the case of Andrej Hniot in bilateral fora.

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 24 August 2024. ***


PEN members are encouraged to:

  • Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Andrej Hniot;
  • Share information about Andrej Hniot and your campaigning activities via social media.

Please keep us informed of your activities. Messages can be sent to Aurélia Dondo, Head of Europe and Central Asia Region at PEN International: [email protected]


Messages of solidarity to Andrej Hniot may be sent here: https://www.instagram.com/andrewgnyot


Born on 7 July 1982, Andrej Hniot is a Belarusian filmmaker, journalist, activist and co-founder of the Free Association of Athletes SOS-BY, which notably played a role in the the cancellation of the 2021 Hockey World Cup in Belarus, and was subquently labelled ‘extremist’ by the Belarusian authorities. Hniot also collaborated with a range of independent news outlets during the 2020 protests that swept through Belarus following the disputed presidential elections that saw Aliaksandr Lukašenka return to a sixth term in office.

Andrej Hniot left Belarus for Thailand in 2021 and was travelling to Serbia for work when he was arrested upon his arrival in Belgrade on 30 October 2023, on the basis of an Interpol arrest warrant issued at the request of the Belarusian authorities on alleged charges of tax evasion (Article 243(2) of the Belarusian Criminal Code). Hniot denies any wrongdoings, arguing that these charges are fabricated and in retaliation for his journalistic work and political activism.

On 31 May 2024, Serbia’s High Court ruled in favour of Andrej Hniot extradition to Belarus. His appeal is currently pending. Should he not be successful, the final decision will rest with Serbia’s Minister of Justice. Hniot was placed under house arrest on 5 June 2024, after spending seven months in detention in Belgrade Central Prison, where he said he was not provided with adequate medical care and his health deteriorated significantly. Hniot must wear a tracking ankle bracelet and is only allowed to leave his apartment for one hour a day. PEN Belarus, Serbian PEN and Armãn PEN are amongst several national and international organisations mobilizing in support of Hniot. Veran Matić, Member of Serbia’s Permanent Working Group for the Safety of Journalists, notably visited Hniot under house arrest and called for all extradition proceedings to be dropped.

If returned to Belarus, Andrej Hniot would face up to seven years in prison on charges of tax evasion. Additionally, the Belarusian authorities could charge him with creating or participating in an ‘extremist formation’, which carries up to ten years in prison. As documented by PEN Belarus and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), prison conditions in Belarus amount to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and torture, with prisoners routinely denied access to medical care, adequate legal representation, and family visits, with those detained on politically motivated grounds subjected to harsher conditions. Several members of PEN Belarus, including Ales Bialiatski and Maksim Znak, have been held in incommunicado detention for months. According to the Human Rights Centre Viasna, 1424 people were being detained on politically motivated grounds at the time of writing.

For more information about PEN International’s work on Belarus, please click here.

For more information about PEN International’s work on Serbia, please click here.

Note to Editors:

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo, Head of Europe and Central Asia Region at PEN International: [email protected]