Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Dzmitry Kubarau
Dzmitry Kubarau is UI/UX designer from Minsk. Known as ‘Dima’ to his friends, he likes tattoos, fashion, and chess. Dzmitry was accused of “calling people to actively participate in mass riots, organising them himself and participating in them” from 9 to 12 August 2020. He was detained on 11 August 2020 and taken to the KGB pre-trial detention centre. That same night, he signed a confession while in the hands of the KGB. At trial, Dzmitry pleaded not guilty and reported the torture that led to his ‘confession.’ On 24 March 2021 he was sentenced to seven years in a penal colony under part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (“Organisation of riots”).
Evacuated Ukrainian activist works to return to Kherson
Following the launch of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, civic activist Artem Kostyuchenko and his family were forced to flee the Kherson region and relocate to Lviv. From there he continues his work and hopes to soon return to his home. This is article was written by Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Artsiom Mitsuk
Artsiom Mitsuk was part of a Telegram group chat which included a number of pseudonymous members. On 29 September, some of the members agreed to meet in person. Artsiom arrived late and saw a number of representatives of law enforcement agencies but as he was sure he had not broken any laws, he checked in with the group chat to find out what was happening. However, on the group chat, Artsiom noticed a representative of state authorities was sending messages to the other users. Soon after that Artsiom was arrested.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Dzianis Boltuts
Dzianis Boltuts, an anti-fascist and fan of the MTZ-RIPO football club, was detained on 25 September 2020 as a suspect in a rioting case – public gatherings against the Lukashenka regime are oftentimes described as a “riot”. He was later charged under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code, “group actions that grossly violate public order”. At the start of 2021, Boltuts was also charged under Part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in riots) and under Art. 364 of the Criminal Code (violence or threat of violence against a police officer). A day after his birthday, Dzianis was sentenced to six years in a medium-security penal colony.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Ivan Datsyshyn
Ivan Datsyshyn, known to his family and friends as Vanya, is a 21-year-old student of radiophysics and computer technology at the Belarusian State University. On the night of 11 August 2020, two days after the highly disputed presidential election, Ivan witnessed the detentions of protesters on Dzerzhinsky Avenue in Minsk. In an effort to force the authorities to leave and not detain people, he allegedly threw a stone at the police bus.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Siarhei Sakavets
Siarhei Sakavets is a 29-year-old engineer from Minsk, who was detained on 21 September 2021 for having subscribed to the Telegram channel “Real Belarus”, which shares news that is critical of the regime.
Poland: “Any success in the fight against populism should not make us complacent”
“For years I believed that our greatest success was that we, the pro-democratic forces in Poland, managed to lead our country, as the first in the socialist bloc, along the path of peaceful transformation from socialism to liberal democracy. And also that we managed, relatively efficiently and quickly, to build a stable system of a democratic rule of law in the country. For some years now, this belief of mine has been put to a very difficult test.”
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Mikola Dziadok
Mikola Dziadok is an anarchist and blogger from the Belarusian district of Mogilev. He was previously held as a political prisoner between 2010 to 2015, when he wrote essays about daily life and the key elements of the Belarusian prison system. His essays formed the collection, The Colours of the Parallel World, which received PEN Belarus’ Francišak Aliachnovič Award in 2017.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Volha Harbunova
Volha Harbunova is a Belarusian woman human rights defender, psychologist, and former head of the non-governmental organisation Radislava, which offers support to women who face domestic and gender-based violence. Harbunova was arrested on 9 November 2021 on suspicion of organising all-women marches in 2020.