Minsk: 65-year-old political prisoner released after serving 60 days for unknown reason

Minsk-based engineer Anatol Shalkovich has been released from the detention centre after spending the total of 60 days there, Facebook user Mariya reports.

Аnatol Shalkovich after release.

The man was sentenced to 15-day term of administrative arrest four times in a row. Notably, the reason for his repeatedly appearing before court is unknown. The Belarusian human rights community recognised Anatol as a political prisoner.

Anatol Shalkovich was detained on November 11, on his 65th birthday. It was not reported under what article he was charged. However, according to the Interior Ministry, he ‘was sewing white-red-white flags at home and placing them on the trees’.

Anatol Shalkovich in ‘repentant viceo’. Screenshot: Interior Ministry

Over the past year, pro-Lukashenka police forces have developed a habit to make arrestees appear in videos, repent on camera and tell about their ‘violations’.

A police-made video featuring Anatol unexpectedly turned into a mild meme: the man explained with his natural sense of humour that he liked the combination of white and red (i.e. colours of Belarusian protest), as he likes tomatoes with sour cream, and his wife is a redhead, which is also white and red.

Minsk police batter chemistry student to film confession. Video appears on propagandist’s Telegram

Anatol Shalkovich’s words in the so called repentant video triggered an online flash mob: Belarusians used tomatoes and sour cream in their posts, expressing their solidarity with political prisoners and protesting against the Lukashenka regime.