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.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Viktar Pantsaleeu
Viktar Pantsaleeu was detained on 18 August 2020 in the framework of a criminal case relating to “mass riots” that allegedly took place in Brest on 10 August, the same day that Aliaksandr Lukashenka was returned to power in elections that are widely deemed to have been undemocratic.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Yauheni Rubashko
Yauheni Rubashko, known to his friends as “Zhenya”, was detained in Minsk on 29 July 2021. His apartment was searched and he was beaten at the time. He was subsequently transferred to the pre-trial detention centre and charged with “group actions grossly violating public order”. Yauheni is one of three anarchists, together with Aliaksandar Bialou and Artyom Salavey, who are accused of participating in the “extremist formation” Pramen, a well-known anarchist group in Belarus. They are facing up to six years in prison.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Anastasya Mirontsava
Anastasya Mirontsava is a 25-year-old student and artist. She has been behind bars since 16 October 2020, when she was detained for having participated in the protests on the day of the presidential election, 10 August 2020. At her trial on 31 March 2021, she implored the court not to deprive her of her freedom any longer.