“Pardoning participants of the December demonstration was only caused by the pressure from the West and sanctions. Another wave of pardons should be expected soon.” – think Zmitser Drozd, a former political prisoner.
Zmitser Drozd was sentenced in May to three years in a high-security prison camp for participating in opposition demonstration of December 19th, 2010. He was pardoned by Aleskander Lukashenka on August 11th, together with eight other political prisoners. Mr. Drozd has not expected such a turn of matters. He agreed to sign a petition to be granted clemency, and he thinks more people will be offered to ask for pardon. “Executive branch officials will be now visiting all the prison camps, until everyone signs a letter asking for clemency. Those, who will refuse, are the real heroes, they are very well aware what are they deciding for.” – said Drozd.
Drozd also stressed that some of the prisoners were coerced into signing a letter asking for clemency. – However, it’s not us who is asking to be pardoned. It is the authorities – asking the world for forgiveness. This is how they are trying to rehabilitate, show an improvement. – said Drozd.
The former political prisoner considers time served in a prison camp to be a great challenge, but he stressed that it might have been much worse. – I have not worked very hard. There was of course some pressure from the prison administration. For example, they sent a provocateur who threatened me. (…) They can destroy person’s life, to such a degree that you end up asking to be pardoned. (…) I did not have enough strength to become a hero. – he added.