Political prisoner Iryna Shchasnaya to stand closed trial

Irina Shchasnaya. Photo: Irina Schastnaya / Facebook

On May 12, Mahiliou regional court will hear a case of activist and editor of several popular TV channels, Iryna Shchasnaya. She will be tried together with Pavel Sevyarynets and activists of the campaign “European Belarus.” the trial will be tried behind closed doors.

Iryna’s husband, Alyaksandr Shchasny, who has been living in Kyiv with his son for almost six months, told “Belsat” that while being transported from Minsk to Mahiliou on 11 April, Iryna contracted coronavirus. Later, the woman lost the sense of smell. She was tested for COVID-19, the result was negative. But another cellmate developed the same symptoms a couple of days later.

The trip was tough

“She was taken to the train in handcuffs, and her hands got swollen so that when the handcuffs were taken off, she couldn’t even lift her bags. The guards carried them,” says Alyaksandr.

Alyaksandr Shchasny with the child. Kyiv, Ukraine. February 16, 2021. Photo: Sveta Far / Belsat

In her letters, Iryna writes that the living conditions in the detention center in Mahiliou are better than in Valadarka prison. The cell has bright walls. There are nightstands. You can properly arrange your things. In the evening, there is hot water in the cell for an hour. However, the food is worse than in Minsk, and the regime is stricter.

“Ira writes that despite everything, she tries to keep her chin up and keep human dignity, asks us not to worry about her, and assures us that she will cope with everything. She misses her son more than anything in the world. It’s not the huge sentence that scares her, but the separation from Herman and the fact that he will grow up without her care and attention. Ira asks us not to tell him about seeing his mother soon, not to get his hopes up, but to concentrate on school, to adapt to the new conditions, but at the same time not to forget the Belarusian language. She’s also afraid she’ll never see her father, who is ill with cancer,” says Alyaksander Shchasny.

While Iryna is in Mahiliou’s pre-trial detention center, she may be deemed a person prone to extremism.