Orphan Illya Yahorau awaiting transfer to settlement

Last fall, Illya Yahorau came out to protest. Two criminal cases were started against the 20-year-old at once and later he was sentenced to 2.5 years of freedom restriction. The man spent most of that spring and the entire summer in Brest jail. He became a defendant in the famous “roundhouse case. Now he is getting ready for the transfer. Illya is an orphan, he was raised in an orphanage in Kobryn. We have interviewed the man.

“Why I came out to protest? Because I saw people being shot at and our people being beaten. I realized I just had to come out and support our people, my country,” Illya says in a conversation with Belsat.

Two criminal cases were filed simultaneously against him: under article 342 (“Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them”) and part 2 of article 339 (“Hooliganism committed by a group of persons”). Illya was detained on 24 March.

Illya Yahorau is getting ready for his trip to the settlement. Photo from personal archive

“I still don’t know who detained me. They stood near the bus stop and near my house in plain clothes, and the car was also civilian. I was on my way to the bus, and I just got brutally arrested and then for one second they showed me their police ID card. I didn’t see it, but when I asked them to identify themselves, they told me to address them as “Comrade Policeman.” They took me to the police station, nobody beat me up, they just showed me a video of myself in the frame and told me I wasn’t going home. They gave me one phone call, and I asked to pass my things,” Illya recalls those events.

That’s how the guy ended up in the detention center, where he remained until August 30.

“At first, it was very hard mentally to stay in the detention center. There were at least three political prisoners in each cell. I remember how we shouted “Lukashenka – to the police van!” in the courtyard, and many people supported us, you could hear others shouting too. I would not say that the attitude in the detention center was bad: I was not beaten, but they could insult me. The worst thing was the medical care, they really didn’t care about our health. When I got to the basement, I saw that it was totally unhygienic and I decided to shave my head again. And I cut the back of my head a little bit. The wound began to fester and get worse, I spent a whole week trying to get doctors to help me. At first, they only gave me iodine, but it didn’t help. Then they found boric acid and I felt better,” recalls Yahorau.

Illya says that he did not take part in the round dance that was held in Brest on September 13 but just stood in the driveway, but the investigators did not care:

“I was accused of grossly violating public order, and after my detention, they added another article, allegedly I drew a couple of flags and wrote “Long Live Belarus!” on an apartment building.

As a result, Judge of the Leninski district of Brest Dzmitry Kurouski sentenced Yahorau to 2.5 years of freedom restriction.

“The trial was ridiculous, I didn’t think it was possible. But it was a real fake: all the facts and arguments had nothing to do with what we had done. Our group on the “roundhouse case” was not the first one, so they did everything according to the usual scenario. I took the court’s decision calmly, because I realized that I was going to jail, but I was lucky and got into ‘chemistry,’ says the young man.

Roundhouse dance in Brest.

He does not know when and where Illya will be sent, as the sentence has not yet come into legal force. The young man is waiting for the regional court to consider his case: due to the illness of the judge, the trial was postponed indefinitely. Nevertheless, Illya is preparing to serve his sentence:

“I am getting as many articles of warm clothes as possible, I have problems with work now: how I will prepare for “chemistry” with supplies and financially, I do not know yet. I asked for help and I am getting it. I hope I can make it at least at first.”

The guy believes that everything will end with the victory of the people and that it cannot be like this for a long time:

“I’m waiting for a change and a change of power in our direction, waiting for this lawlessness to end. I’m tired of being afraid.”

The young man is fond of sports and worked in a construction trust as a carpenter and concrete worker, but after he came out of the detention center, he was fired, allegedly for absenteeism.

You can help Illya Yahorau:

9112 3800 0948 7150