Political prisoner Volha Zalatar has her last word in court

The political prisoner and mother of five children, Volha Zalatar, has addressed the Minsk city court with her final word. Her sentence will be announced on December 3, reports the human rights center “Viasna.”

Volha Zalatar with her family. Photo: spring96.org

Volha Zalatar, mother of five children, was accused under two articles of the Criminal Code: part 1 of article 361-1 (“Establishment of extremist formation”) and parts 1 and 2 of article 342 (“Organization and training in actions seriously violating public order”). She has been kept behind bars since March 18.

Prosecutor Zhanna Baranava asked the court to sentence her to 5 years of imprisonment under the general regime. Judge Anastasiya Papko will announce the sentence on December 3.

The political prisoner made her last word in court on November 30.

“I’m here because I’m a caring person. I’m here because I live by God’s covenant. I’m here because I’m a mom who wants to protect my children. As a mother and a Catholic, I stand for human dignity and spiritual values. All my actions and statements are prepared with love for people and with hatred for lies and violence.

We are all children of God. Everyone has the potential to make this world look like the kingdom of God, where love reigns. There is no hatred, envy, lies, revenge, or fear in God’s kingdom.

My heart is torn apart as the degree of hatred grows and the amount of pain and resentment increases. Repentance and mutual forgiveness are needed. This is the only way to stop the social and political crisis in the country.

The materials of the case give meaning to my actions, which I did not mean. Ordinary human actions, reactions, and feelings are criminalized. There is a picture of a poster in the case file, which says, “Peace. Love. Freedom.” And I support every word of it. I want Peace for my home country.

The Archbishop of South Africa who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu put it this way: “The Lord created us and said: “Go, my children.” Now you are free, and he respects our freedom so much that he is willing to let us go to hell of our own free will than to force us into heaven.”

St. Peter’s second letter puts it this way: “God is longsuffering toward us. He does not want anyone to perish. But He wants all to come to repentance.”

I want my country to have a love for God and people. I want every person to have freedom of choice… I want to finish with the words of Uladzimir Karatkevich: “God lives in Belarus.” Long Live God lives! Let it live forever.”

After the last word, there was applause in the courtroom.