Elections-2015: Imprisoned ex-presidential candidate urges oppositionists to unite

Mikalai Statkevich faces limited access to information, he wrote in a letter to Bialynichy-based journalist Barys Vyrvich. 

As a result of problems with conscription, since mid-January he has not received any newspapers except for the Novy Chas weekly, HRC Viasna reports.

“Besides, not all issues were delivered, some came with a delay of almost a week. Another source of information is the only TV set that we are allowed to to watch in the morning and in the evening. <…> But I keep tabs on the key events,” says the political prisoner.

Mikalai Statkevich also expressed hope that his ‘colleagues in the opposition’ will unite somehow around the idea of his nomination as a single candidate.

“I hope that there is only one initiative group. It is for this sake that I agreed to this plan, as simple PR is not interesting to me. And it will not improve my situation. But I will put up with that for the sake of unity. Moreover, I am strong enough to get through it all. Despite the passport age,” he said in the letter.

In October, 2014 Belarusian poet and politician Uladzimir Niakliayeu offered Mikalai Statkevich as a single opposition candidate in the 2015 presidential election and Statkevich gave his consent.

Mikalai Statkevich is the last 2010 presidential candidate whom the Belarusian authorities hold 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 Belarus president Lukashenka for pardon.

In January, 2015 the imprisoned politician was transferred from Mahiliou prison No 4 to Shklou penal colony No 1. Its administration is trying to exert pressure on him: two reports have been placed on Mikalai Statkevich for ‘violating the prison rules’ within his two-day stay in Shklou penal colony.


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