Anatol Labiedzka: I am a political hostage

Labiedzka, chairman of the United Civic Party, was arrested after the December 19th demonstration against election fraud and accused of inciting riots. He was released from the arrest in spring, and the investigation was suspended. In an interview with Belsat, Labiedzka talks about his current situation.

Belsat: Why did the authorities resume the court case against you?

– I think that resuming the case is not directed only against me, but also against entire active section of Belarusian society. Authorities are concerned about upcoming protests, scheduled by the opposition groups for autumn. The controversies around arresting and sentencing more than 30 people to prisons and prison camps for participating in December demonstration against election fraud, are still very much alive. The authorities can find new suspects any time they want. My status has not changed, I am still a political hostage, kept in suspense. They are trying to make an example out of me for other people, to remind that nothing is over yet, and no one can feel completely safe. The authorities are saying: „People, be afraid!“.

Are you planning on taking any steps to deal with the case?

– I’m not going to talk with the prosecution, Ministry of Interior, or KGB. They made an unofficial lawless deal between each other about tackling the opposition. I’m not going to ask anyone for help, it wouldn’t make any sense. I will not allow KGB, prosecution and the Ministry of Interior to harass me. I am not a criminal, I did not break the law. My actions will respond to how I perceive my status, and not to views of the enforcement agencies.

You also signed to vouch for Ales Bialacki, who was arrested under the suspicion of tax evasion crimes….

– No one understand Ales‘ situation as well as I do. For almost four months I’ve been wearing his shoes and I know you have to fight for your freedom. The reason I was held in detention until April, was a threat that I will flea or influence other suspects in case. It’s August now – I haven’t fled anywhere, nor had I put pressure on anyone. So I can easily vouch for Ales, he is not planning to run away. I think that petition signing is a good idea, in order to draw attention to his situation and fight for his freedom.


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