“I cannot believe that Andrei will not be by my side for next 5 years.” – Irina Khalip said in an interview with Belsat TV. Her husband and a former presidential candidate, Andrei Sannikov was sentenced to 5 years in prison on Saturday.
On May 16th, a court in Minsk announced sentences for chiefs of staff of ex-presidential candidates Vital Rymashevsky, Andrei Sannikowa and Mikalai Statkevich. Paval Siaverniets, one of the leaders of the Belarusian Christian-Democratic party and the head of Rymashevky’s election campaign staff, was sentenced to three years of corrective work. Both Sergiey Martseleu, head of Statkievich’s presidential campaign, and Irena Khalip received suspended sentence of two years.
Irina Khalip, after 3.5 months of detention, met with her little son Danik, who had his fourth birthday yesterday. When the journalists from the Russian First Channel escorted Irina to her apartment, KGB employee was gone. Ms. Khalip had been under house arrest pending trial. During that time she was guarded by residing in her apartment KGB officers.
“KGB officers behaved very well, some even said they felt uncomfortable, and they did not want to stay in our apartment, but there was nothing they could do. The time spent in KGB prison was the hardest for me. I didn‘t know anything about my son, except that they wanted to place him in foster care. I was a hostage and I still am – Andrei said KGB kept threatening my and my son’s lives – said the journalist.
In her opinion Sannkav, unlike other politicians, did not surrender to blackmail of the authorities. He mentioned in court that he was subjected to a psychological pressure. However, the court did not pay any attention to his testimony.
“Andrei is a real hero. I’m proud of my husband. I can not imagine how I will live through these five years without him. I hope that will be released earlier, “- added Irena Khalip. According to Interfax Zapad news agency, Ms. Khalip has obtained on Wednesday a permission to visit her husband.