Oslo, 10 December 2023: Natalia Pinchuk delivers the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate lecture on behalf of her imprisoned husband Ales Bialiatski. 

“Most of all, I miss Ales’ optimism, with which he charges everyone around him, his ability to see the future and build a strategy, and his unconditional faith and confidence that truth and justice will prevail.”

“Ales does not write about the conditions in which he is being kept. But we know about them from the stories of those who have been kept in the colony even before 2020.” 

“The colony is known for its very harsh treatment of political prisoners. [Others who have served time in the colony] have talked about harsh and brutal treatment, the use of cold torture in punishment cells, beatings and other forms of pressure.”

Most Belarusians in 2020 stood against injustice and untruth, against the rotten power of Lukashenka. 

“People very clearly and directly stated their desire to follow the democratic path of development. And this means that they opposed totalitarianism and imperial ideology. Unfortunately, the peaceful protest was stifled, but the desire of Belarusians for freedom, truth and unacceptance of the war with Ukraine, which is supported by the dictator, was not stifled. Lukashenka does not trust the Belarusians, – this is why until now the Belarusian troops were not involved in the aggression against Ukraine.”

“The government stifles any manifestation of free independent thought. Terror and repression have not diminished since 2020, and every day it increases in scale. People are being thrown into prisons for huge terms (the longest is 25 years), people are abused in places of detention, tortured and maimed, and their health is destroyed.”

“In such a situation, it is very important to support Belarusians in every possible way and to exert severe pressure on the Lukashenka regime.”

Natalia Pinchuk with her husband Ales Bialiatski.

Natallia Pinchuk is a Belarusian professor of history. She is married to prominent human rights defender and political prisoner Ales Bialiatski. 

Ales Bialiatski is serving a ten-year sentence, while his colleagues Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich are serving sentences of nine and seven years respectively.

If you would like to write a letter of solidarity to them or any of the political prisoners in Belarus, you can find their addresses here, alternatively, a digital greeting can be sent via the Solidarity Postcards Atelier volunteer service, organised by activists of the Belarusian Human Rights School and the Belarusian Student’s Association. 

Top photo: Ales Bialiatski via Facebook.