Letter from imprisoned politician (video)

Belarusian political prisoners are still being pressurised, which was proved by the recent letter from imprisoned ex-presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich. Any turn for the better is hardly forthcoming, his wife says.


‘It is the first time Mikalai has said that a penal colony is better than prison because there is open space in a colony. One can see the sun, trees, grass and flowers from there.’

English subs:

{movie}Letter from imprisoned politician (ENG subs)|right|16793{/movie}

According to the letter, Mikalai Statkevich who was sentenced to six years of imprisonment is still regarded as ‘a gross violator of prison rules’ who failed to mend his ways. Two years ago he was recognised ‘a person inclined to violation and escape’ and this status of his hasn’t changed yet, he wrote in the letter:


‘Due to this fact they are constantly talking on discipline to me. But it’s really funny! I repeatedly promise them not to attack anyone because I’m very kind’

But in fact, it’s not a laughing matter: the status only makes a prisoner’s situation worse.

ALEH VOUCHAK, human rights defender:

‘A person is kept under tight control: he is restricted in conlacts, nobody is allowed to approach him. All is done to crack a person up.’

The people who have recently been released also feel as if they were in prison. According to human rights defenders, former political prisoners’ life is not exactly normal.

ALEH VOUCHAK, human right defender:

‘Their first-order problem is to find a job. A former prisoner manages to do it, he must let the police know. A police officer is to inspect a perspective employer, etc. That is why busenessmen or directors try not to hire ex-political prisoners. Another problem is that the police visit you twice at night, at any moment.’

Former political prisoners Mikalai Autukhovich and Aliaksandr Mauchanau also seem to be on the rocks.


Mikalai Statkevich is the last 2010 presidential candidate to be in prison. The sentence given to Mr Statkevich in 2011 was one of the toughest: six years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony. The reason might be explained by the fact that in his election speech Mikalai Statkevich addressed to the current president demanding “to give back all that you have stolen”. The authorities are trying to embitter Statkevich’s life even in prison putting him to a disciplinary cell or making him share a ward with an AIDS sufferer. However, the former presidential candidate keeps mantaining his innocence and refuses to ask President Lukashenka for pardon.


See also