Pavel Sevyarynets: The condition of political prisoners is even worse than before
12:18, — Politics
Belarusian political prisoner calls Belarusians for a boycott of the "parliamentary elections".
Pavel Sevyarynets, who is serving a sentence in the working colony, the “chemistry”, for the first time in seven months visited home. In an interview he told to charter97.org, why he didn’t hope to be released under amnesty, and what, in his opinion, Belarusians have to do to change the situation in the country.
- You have been denied amnesty. Did you expect to receive it?
- No, because I knew that the EU does not cooperate with the regime. The EU did not give new loans, and Lukashenka won’t free political prisoners. Even the detention of Dashkevich has been prolonged.
- Some people do not understand what "chemistry" is and how difficult it is. Some people believe that it is almost freedom. Can you dispel this myth?
- The thing is that the "political people" in the "chemistry" is a separate category. If ordinary people with this punishment can sneak home for a while or go fishing, everything is very strict with the "politicals". You can walk 50 meters away from the gate if you warn a security officer. In order to go farther, you need a written permission from the chief of the prison. Once a week we are allowed to go to church. One day, twice a year I spend at home. The rest of the time either in a room behind bars or at work. I cook for myself. I have a cell phone, but I’m not allowed to have a computer. When guests arrive, meetings are allowed. It's nice. I can write letters. "Chemistry" - is a cross between a suspended sentence and imprisonment. Here, of course, it is easier than in prison, but you are always under supervision. And any time you can be transferred to prison for any violation. Most people from the "chemistry" weren’t released, but were transferred to prison for violations.
The fenced area of the special settlement can be accessed only with permission of the security officer. You need a written request to be able to go beyond the territory.
- How do you feel about the fact that Europe demands to release political prisoners, but does not take tough measures against the dictatorship?
- The European Union has taken a principled stand, a quite simple one. It is tired from negotiating with the regime. One cannot reach an agreement with Lukashenka, it acts only on concepts. Didn’t pay – didn’t release. And he has the country of ten million units of commodity. I respect the position of the EU. The EU could take any specific action, but I'm not sure that it is reasonably possible and that it will give a result. There is Russia, which will sponsor Lukashenka to a greater extent than Europe.
- How can you comment the situation of political prisoners in prisons?
- It is very bad. Even worse than before. The authorities began to use the article 411, under which was charged Dashkevich. Also they use different methods of pressure. From the provocation of prisoners who cooperate with the administration of prisons, to direct physical torture. I'm sure that people, who take part in all this, will respond before human trial, and before God.
- Can one now legally engage in opposition activities, when most of the opposition leaders are in prison or their freedom is restricted?
- One can and should. If God allows. it For some it is the distribution of information via the Internet, for someone it is the work with people on the street, for someone it is the distribution of the gospel. After all, people, who believe, fight more persistently against the dictatorship. You do not have to do the work so that tens will suffer instead of millions. You need to involve these millions. One need to talk to people, persuade them. Every step will make them more massive and united. This will improve the state of political prisoners and bring victory in Belarus. Our people, who are now in prison, are heroes, but they cannot win alone. It is necessary that every Belarusian was involved. It is necessary that every reader of independent media, every member of democratic rallies, every commentator on news sites understood this. They need to do at least something.
- To what extent, from your point of you, has changed the situation in Belarus after December 19, 2010?
- It's hard to compare. On 19th was a critical moment, and now everything is stagnant. The regime rots, but the society is also intimidated and weakened. This is the result of inadequacy of the government and mistakes of democratic forces. But it’s more possible to act now than last year. The pressure is transferred to political prisoners. The problem is that many are not ready to undertake even small steps. There is no understanding of what to do. And we, the democratic forces, are responsible for this understanding.
- Do you think the opposition needs to participate in the "parliamentary elections"?
- There is no such thing as "elections", there is no participation in it. Thousands of people engaged in a falsification – in a crime. It is necessary to expose these crimes and boycott the "elections". First, we need to document the real turnout. How many people came, how many were expelled, how many voted early. Second, we need to publish this information on the Internet, so people could know about it. We have five million Internet users in Belarus. And third - we have to form an alternative to the government. And this will not include those who participated in the "elections" "to the end".
Recall, on May 16, 2011 Pavel Sevyarynets was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for participating in protests against falsification of the elections. On July 26, 2012 Sevyarynets was officially denied amnesty.
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