Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a presidential candidate in the 2020 election, has addressed Ihar Losik, Ihar Bantser and Dzmitry Furmanau in her speech. The politician asked the political prisoners to stop their hunger strike.
Tsikhanouskaya urged the political prisoners who began the hunger strike to stop protesting in this form.
“Ihar Losik, Ihar Bantser, and Dzmitry Furmanau. You may not be aware of the fact that I am now saying these words. But we all know about you and your boundless courage.
You are risking your lives right now to express your protest through hunger strike. But we Belarusians are not ready to risk you.
As a human being, a mother and a wife, I ask you to stop the hunger strike. Your relatives, your parents and children need you. Belarus needs you.
But as a politician, I am doing everything possible to free you and hundreds of Belarusians who are innocently locked in the cells next to you.
This week I have met with delegations from the European Union and the United Nations to impose financial and visa sanctions on judges, prosecutors and prison authorities who do not comply with your demands.
They have an obligation to allow representatives of diplomatic missions and ambassadors into prisons. They forbid these visits because they are afraid everyone will see the terrible conditions in which the regime keeps our husbands, children, parents and friends. We can only guess what kind of hell you are in, since you dared to cut your wrists and go on a dry hunger strike.
But we are talking about you to the world. Together with our foreign partners, we keep pressing for the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus Anaïs Morin to be allowed to Belarus. As early as next week, the UN should launch a mechanism for bringing to justice those who have illegally detained and issued the sentences imposed from above.
But I don’t know if you have another week. Which means we don’t have the right to just wait for someone else to act, because that waiting leads to terrible casualties.
They say a man lives three dozen days without food, three days without water, and three minutes without air. But the only thing I am sure of is that whatever your decision, you have already shown that you are not ready to live a second without your convictions,” said Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
On March 11, Ihar Losik tried to slit his wrists and declared a dry hunger strike. The well-known blogger was detained on June 25, 2020. Criminal cases were filed against him under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code (“Preparation to violate public order”) and Part 2 of Article 293 (“Preparation to participate in mass riots”). No investigative actions were conducted with him all this time. “I am simply being tortured,” he wrote in a letter. From December 15 to January 25, Ihar was already on hunger strike and suspended it thanks to the strong support and solidarity.
It was also recently reported that blogger Syarhei Pyatrukhin cut his wrists in prison #4 in Mahiliou. The reason was the terrible unsanitary conditions in the cell, where he was transferred, the impossibility to stay around the people present there.
Ihar Bantser has been on a dry hunger strike for 12 days.
Dzmitry Furmanau, arrested in Hrodna in the so-called Tsikhanouski case, went on hunger strike on 11 March. He took this step “because of the terrible conditions in Hrodna prison”.