Political prisoner Statkevich kept alone in cell as personal wish

Maryna Adamovich shows an old photo with her husband. Photo: AB / Belsat

Maryna Adamovich, the wife of politician Mikalai Statkevich, recently told Nasha Niva about the condition of her husband and the conditions of his detention.

Mikalai Statkevich has been in custody since May 31, 2020. He will be tried together with Syarhei Tsikhanouski and Ihar Losik.

The politician is suspected of “organizing group activities, grossly violating public order” and “preparing for participation in mass riots.” Statkevich has spent a total of nine years behind bars.

Maryna Adamovich says he’s alone in his cell almost all the time.

“When he was transferred to Zhodzina, he wrote an application for safe custody due to the threat that could come from the administration,” she said. “Because it’s no secret that attempts to pressure political prisoners through their cellmates have been made and are being made. And if anything happens, it is usually blamed on domestic conflicts in the cells.”

Other conditions are “business as usual” for political prisoners: cold tap water, metal bunks, a hole in the floor behind a small partition as a toilet, Lukashenka’s speeches on the radio. When there were frosts, Mikalai had to sleep with his clothes on.

Although Maryna asked that Mikalai not be given parcels without agreeing on what’s in them, they still sometimes do. She explains that Mikalai has “a lot of experience in how to keep himself as healthy as possible” behind bars. He asks for a limited set of groceries. She brings him peppers, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, lettuce, herbs, lard, coffee, tea, and bread.

Statkevich, as his wife says, never misses a walk and makes sure it is according to the rules. During his walks, he exercises and does gymnastics at least three times a day. Lawyers tell Maryna that Mikalai in no way resembles “the usual image of a prisoner.”

Mikalai Statkevich. Photo: Iryna Arakhouskaya / Belsat.eu

His wife brings him newspapers. Maryna does not believe that the Belarusian authorities will start “trading political prisoners” soon: “We need some kind of stabilization – it doesn’t look like it yet”.