Belarus

Leader of the Belarusian opposition in Berlin

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: “Please write to the prisoners!”

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in Berlin. Photo by Michael Leh

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in Berlin. Photo by Michael Leh

The leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was greeted enthusiastically by hundreds of compatriots on Gendarmenmarkt Square during her visit to Berlin on December 13. She stressed the importance of the Belarusian diaspora for the democracy and freedom movement in Belarus. “I know that you understand very well what is going on in Belarus now. You are following not only our every action, but also every crime committed by the regime”.

The people of Belarus are fearful today: “Your opportunities and tools to fight a dictatorship are limited”. There are so many people in prison nowadays, “the police can break into private houses at any moment”. “When such terrible things are happening in Belarus,” she added, “your task is to draw the attention of the world and force states to make clear statements about what is happening in our country”. And: “You should also explain quite clearly what kind of help we need. It is not dangerous to fight here, you live in democratic countries. The people of Belarus are tired, now they need your support even more. Please make sure that Belarus is not forgotten at this important time. Pressure from outside is more important now than ever before”.

Tikhanovskaya’s speech. Photo by Michael Leh

Tikhanovskaya also added: “I have one more big request: write letters, write to political prisoners and detainees. They rejoice like little children when they get the mail, you can’t even imagine. This is very important. Do it: have a card written once a week to let people know they are not forgotten”.

Protestant pastor Kai Feller greeted Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Gendarmenmarkt Square with the words: “You have done an incredible thing for your country”. Feller did not doubt the “decency, clarity, sincerity and straightforwardness” of the leader of the Belarusian opposition living in exile in Lithuania. Again and again she recalls not only the fate of her imprisoned husband Sergei, but also “all the other hostages who have fallen into the hands of the dictator” Lukashenko. Her husband, who is in prison, continues to support her, demanding that she “not draw attention to him, but defend all political prisoners until they are released”.

During a prayer for peace and freedom in Belarus at the Berlin Cathedral, Catholic Archbishop Heiner Koch stated: “You are not alone in Belarus, we stand by you”.

After the presidential elections on August 8, 30.000 people were arrested in the country. “We in Germany,” said Koch, “are learning from the people of Belarus these days how valuable democracy and freedom of speech are, and how little we take for granted”. He also added: “And we know that the church must be courageous and ready to take a stand where human dignity and human rights are trampled upon”.

Michael Leh

ISHR team kindly asking the society to SUPPORT POLITICAL PRISONERS IN BELARUS WITH LETTERS! It is extremely important for them to know, that they are not forgotten! Below you will find the information on political prisoners in Belarus and their contact addresses, where you can write them a letter or just send him or her a postcard and cheer the person up! Please notice that some political prisoners do not have a certain address for mailing, but no worries! You can send your letters to us and we will forward your correspondence to the recipients. Support Belarus people!

 

Marina Glasova

On 13 September, 25-year-old Marina Glasova, a teacher of English and Polish in the Belarusian university city of Brest, took part in a demonstration against the falsification of the election of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. At the end of the demonstration, she was arrested and taken into custody. Two days later, a case was brought against her for “lack of respect for police officers”. She is currently under house arrest at home.

If you would like to write a letter to Marina Glasova, you can write it to the ISHR headquarter address and we will be happy to forward it Marina.

IGFM – Deutsche Section e.V.

Edisonstraße 5

60388 Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland

Aleksander Kordyukov

Aleksander Kordyukow is accused of “violent resistance against an internal affairs officer”. For this he faces a prison sentence of at least 5 years. In fact, he and his friend Gennady Shutov only took part in a peaceful protest in Brest against the falsification of the presidential elections in Belarus. Gennady has been killed by internal affairs officers and Aleksander has been taken to prison.

!!!Latest update. Apparently, Kordyukov is now being charged with attempted manslaughter of the special police officer. The one who shot his friend.

ISHR considers this to be absurd for the following and other reasons and is very concerned about the future fate of Aleksander:

Gennady Shutov’s death certificate states that the death was caused by traumatic brain edema. In the column “External cause of death” the code Y22 is indicated – in the international classification of diseases, this stands for “Injury by shot of a pistol with indefinite intention”. On September 21, a video (witnessed by ISHR) was released from a camera at the entrance to house 334 on Moskovskaya Street in Brest, under the windows of which one of the “Tichars” shot Gennady Shutov in the back of the head on August 11. This entry confirms that the official version of the investigative committee that the biker Gennady Shutov and his friend Aleksander Kordyukov attacked the police with metal pipes and tried to take their weapons away is fake. There were no fittings or metal pipes in the hands of Shutov and his friend Kordyukov, and there were no warning shots upwards by the security forces. The two of them did not attack the “Tichars” (the name for special police units in civilian clothes), but instead approached them themselves.

If you would like to write a letter to Aleksander Kordyukov, you can write it to the ISHR-headquarter address and we will be happy to forward it Aleksander.

IGFM – Deutsche Section e.V.

Edisonstraße 5

60388 Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland

Gennady Shutov (in black jacket in center)

Gennady Shutov, 44, was one of the thousands of participants in a demonstration against the Lukashenko regime that took place on 11 August 2020. Two days later, the newspaper reported that the father of five children had been shot and killed by a police officer. According to the police report, the police officers detained Gennady Shutov. He was armed with a metal pipe and tried to take away guns from the officers. One police officer felt threatened and targeted Gennady in the shoulder, but as a result of “Shutov’s resistance” the shot came to his head.

If you would like to write a letter of support to Gennady Shutov´s family, you can write it to the ISHR address and we will be happy to forward it Gennady´s family.

IGFM – Deutsche Section e.V.

Edisonstraße 5

60388 Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland

In the following we present excerpts from the series “Pisma is takich mest” (Letters from such places) by Brestskaya Gazeta (Brest Newspaper, https://www.b-g.by). This series publishes letters from political prisoners in their detention. The Brestskaya Gazeta is one of the few remaining critical and courageous holdovers in today’s Belarusian print media world, which is subject to extreme state pressure.  But last month (November 2020) it also received a sudden and unfounded refusal from their print company.  ISHR is very concerned and hopes that this does not mean the end of the Brestskaya print newspaper!

Sergey Tikhanovsky

Sergey Tichanovsky is the husband of the only official opponent of the Belarusian President Lukashenko, Svetlana Tichanovskaya. Originally it was he who ran for the presidency. But like the other two serious presidential candidates, he was the first to be withdrawn from circulation on May 29th. His wife, the foreign language correspondent and mother of two young children, was able to officially register for the presidential candidacy in his place at the last minute. (For more details see: https://ishr.org/the-soviet-union-the-fall-of-the-berlin-wall-and-the-belarusian-democratic-movement/) Since then he has been in prison while his wife with the support of the not yet imprisoned and not yet fled campaign teams of the other two presidential candidates led a historically moving election campaign that attracted and moved Belarusian civil society en masse. For Belarusian civil society, there was no doubt that his wife only got 10 percent of the vote in the presidential election and there were mass protests by peaceful citizens. Under massive state pressure (alleged threat to the family’s life), the courageous wife was forced to flee into exile in Lithuania with the two children. From there she is active and seeks European support for the Belarusian citizens’ movement while her husband is still in custody. See excerpts of his letter (below) from prison to the “Brestskaya Gazeta” (Brest Newspaper) in November 2020.

Tichanovsky was born on August 18, 1978 in Horki and grew up in Gomel, where he graduated from the philological faculty. He later opened night clubs and organized concerts. He became known as a blogger and author of the YouTube channel “Country for living”  (Strana Dlia Zhisni). His video production company “Compass” is active in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The company has produced some famous commercials, including clips for the pop group Propaganda and comedian Alexandr Revva.

“Since May 29th, I’ve been in a parallel world. You know how in the movie “Back to the Future”. Time branches out into parallel worlds. Only I am isolated from it in the prison cell and messages come through to me as short text messages based on what we can imagine…

Letters came in about 100 a week (were given to me) … I answer all of them and so far I keep them. …I have a dream: I want us to be proud of our country because there is no place here for lies, hypocrisy and injustice. That there is freedom and equality for all before the law and real brotherhood. And I’ll do everything I can to make it so. I believe in changes for the better!”

If you would like to support Sergey with a letter, please use this address in German transliteration or in Russian:

S. L. Tichanovsky (С.Л. Тихановский)

IU „Gefängnis Nummer 8“ (ИП «Тюрьма № 8») 

ul. Sovetskaja, 22 A (ул. Советская, 22 А)

g. Zhodino, Minskaja oblast, 222163 (г. Жодино, Минская область, 222163)

Aleksander Kabanov

A blogger from Brest, author of a YouTube channel “People’s Reporter”, press secretary of Svetlana Tikhhanovskaya’s initiative group. He was arrested on June 15 when he was called by a polyclinic to check for quarantine. The court sentenced him to 15 days in detention. He is still in detention.

“…I’m writing another letter, I know that the previous ones didn’t get through. Maybe this will get through 🙂 They just go through the Bermuda Triangle and other anomalies, so it’s OK 🙂

I’m fine, I haven’t read the case yet, but I will before the New Year, and next year will be the “trial”. I am so keen to read the case, it’s been a long time since I’ve read “fantasy novels” :). They are also going to charge me and some other people with Article 130 of the Criminal Code (incitement to racial, national or religious hatred or discord). Miracles :)) We’re having fun!”

If you would like to support Aleksander with a letter, please use this address in German transliteration or in Russian:

Aleksander Kabanov (Александр Кабанов)

SISO – 1 (СИЗО-1)

ul. Volodarskogo, 2 (ул. Володарского, 2)

g. Minsk 220030 (г. Минск, 220030)

Nikolai Statkevich

Courageous and well-known opposition politician who has been arrested again and again in recent years. He would have been a promising presidential candidate had he been admitted as a candidate, which they had not done. This time detained since the end of May.

We are currently living through a terrible and great time. The time when people fight for their liberation. We are paying for the liberation of suffering and sacrifice. “It could seem that freedom is still far away. That its enemies are still very strong. But this is not so. The dictatorship in a small European country with a dependent economy cannot prevail for so long if the people stand against it. Hang in there. All will be well.

If you would like to support Nikolai with a letter, please use this address in German transliteration or in Russian:

Nikolai Statkevich (Николай Статкевич)

SISO-8 (СИЗО-8)

ul. Sovjetskaja, 22A (ул. Советская, 22А)

222160 g. Schodino, Kreis Minsk (222160 г. Жодино, Минская область)

Maksim Snak

Jurist from the leadership of the presidential candidate Viktor Babariko, he was a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council for a Peaceful Transfer of Power. He was arrested on September 9th exactly one month after the election.

Dear colleagues from the Brest Newspaper.
…Today I received your letter and even before that the “Brest Newspaper” and I was pleasantly surprised! Thank you very much for the subscription! We read collectively in each of the apartments where I stayed. We do not agree with the opinion that the television channels have replaced the newspapers. As it turned out, the newspapers are the most operative channel (after the lawyers), i.e. letters can take weeks, and with the internet nothing works here… So thank you very much again! And see you soon!

If you would like to support Maksim with a letter, please use this address in German transliteration or in Russian:

Maksim Snak (Максим Знак)

SISO-1, Zelle 62 (СИЗО-1, Камера 62)

ul. Wolodarskogo, 2 (ул. Володарского, 2)

g. Minsk 220030 (г. Минск, 220030)

Sergey Petruchin

The blogger and author of the You Tube channel “People’s Reporter”, was imprisoned for 15 days on June 16 and is still in custody.

…Hello! I live well. Simply excellent! Sitting in the very best prison in Belarus is just super. (…) Everything is fine by me. Thanks to the absence of internet and telephone, I have had the wonderful opportunity to dive into myself and turn to my old passion, neglected for many years, reading. There is a good library here. 

I will write when I get out. But information just takes terabytes. I’m in here watching the wheel keep turning. My favourite game is not played here. It’s not allowed here. Reading newspapers till you drop. There’s the Brest newspaper, television….
See you again!

If you would like to support Sergey with a letter, please use this address in German transliteration or in Russian:

Sergej Petruchin (Сергей Петрухин)

SISO-1, Zelle 56 (СИЗО-1, Камера 56)

ul. Wolodarskogo, 2 (ул. Володарского, 2)

g. Minsk 220030 (г. Минск, 220030)

Igor Losik

The young freelancer from Radio Svoboda, blogger Igor Losik, was arrested on June 25.

!!! Update: He went on hunger strike two days ago! (15.12.2020) ISHR is very concerned about his health.

Hello!
I got a reply, I’m glad everything is going normally.
I enjoy reading the paper, thanks for the subscription. … What’s going on there with the Corona virus? I see that journalists are being arrested en masse. I’ve read that you’ve run out of places to sit. All in all, there hasn’t been any positive news since long period of time, only bad news. So if you answer me, write something positive. Hang in there, because there are almost no good papers left. … I hug you!

If you would like to support Igor with a letter, please use this address in German transliteration or in Russian:

Igor Losik (Игорь Лосик)

SISO-8 (СИЗО-8)

ul. Sovjetskaja, 22A (ул. Советская, 22А)

222160 g. Schodino, Kreis Minsk (222160 г. Жодино, Минская область)

Pavel Severinez

Well-known, courageous and often arrested opposition politician. He was arrested on June 5th.

Dear friends!
Thank you very much for subscribing for November. I will ask my family to continue subscribing to the Brest newspaper. (…) Even when I get out of prison, I want to keep reading your newspaper. I will be happy to everyone (especially from Brest Region) who will wirte me! Thank you very much, my dear friends! Light is stronger than darkness. 

Sincerely yours,

Pavel

If you would like to support Pavel with a letter, please use this address in German transliteration or in Russian:

Pavel Severinez (Павел Северинец)

SISO-1, Zelle 101 (СИЗО-1, Камера 101)

ul. Wolodarskogo, 2 (ул. Володарского, 2)

g. Minsk 220030 (г. Минск, 220030)