Letters to Political Prisoners project: ‘It is first time someone not from my family has written to me’

Letter from political prisoner Syarhei Hatskevich. Photo courtesy Alyaksei.

Residents of the village of Senitsa (Minsk district) write letters to political prisoners every day; both the imprisoned and those at large need it, Alyaksei, the author of the special photo project, believes.

By sending letters to the political prisoners, his fellow villagers prove that the struggle continues and show them that they are not alone, he said.

“There are political prisoners whose stories were hardly reported by mass media, and they rarely get letters. It is a pity. Once we received a response letter saying ‘It is the first time that I have received a letter from someone not belonging to my family’. And that man has already been in prison for several months!” Alyaksei stressed.

Letters to Political Prisoners project. Photo: zmagarskiy_a_photography / instagram
Letters to Political Prisoners project. Photo: zmagarskiy_a_photography / instagram
Letters to Political Prisoners project. Photo: zmagarskiy_a_photography / instagram
Letters to Political Prisoners project. Photo: zmagarskiy_a_photography / instagram

According to him, Senitsa is a village where everyone has their role to play in currently fighting for freedom. Some participate in protest marches, others take photos with white-red-white flags and make them viral on social media, someone writes letters to prisoners of conscience and shares their answers. The above mentioned letter from Syarhei Hatskevich inspired Alyaksei to launch the photo project to which his villagers contributed as well.

“Some prisoners ask to help their families. If we have such an opportunity, we send them essentials, toys for children,” he said.

Many Senitsa residents are engaged in corresponding with political prisoners, but there are two girls who send out even bunches of letters almost every day, the photographer noted. The return letters are carefully kept for ‘putting the historical record straight in the future’.

Thereby my photo heroes and I intend to draw attention to the problem. If some problem haunts me, I am ready to blow the trumpets about it so that people could get wind of the situation. The residents of Senitsa crave for doing the same with all the desire in the world. That is why such projects are created,” he added.

As of April 30, the Belarusian human rights community has recognised 360 people as political peisoners.

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