17 January 2018, Wednesday, 8:00

Look who’re here!


The new deputy minister of internal affairs, Ihar Shunevich, interrogated us, political prisoners, in the KGB jail after the arrest on December 19.

Before the new appointment, Ihar Shunevich was the head of the KGB department for corruption and organized crime. I realized that only today, when I saw a photo of the person, who replaced Aleh Pyakarski so quickly.

The first time I saw Ihar Shunevich in the KGB jail was the middle of January. I was called for an interrogation by him at 10:00 pm. Formally, it was not an interrogation, but a “conversation”, because it was held without a lawyer. I had a lot of similar “conversations” in the KGB jail against a few real interrogations in the presence of a lawyer. We did not have access to lawyers in the KGB jail and had to suffer from pressure during those “talks”.

Shunevich noted at the beginning he would not say to which agency he belonged and strongly advised not to tell anyone about our “conversation”. To be honest, I was sure he was from the Counterintelligence Department. He conducted interrogations not in a special room in the jail, but in the office of the jail chief, having ordered to the latter to leave the office.

What was the chief of the KGB department for corruption and organization crime interested in? At the very beginning, tired of two “conversations” with a law enforcement officer and the jail chief I had earlier on that day, I stated: “Do not try to hook me and demand to give evidence against Andrei Sannikov and Zmitser Bandarenka!” Shunevich answered he “is definitely was not going to hook you”. He noted the activity of charter97.org website lied in the interests of KGB investigators, but he wanted to know “far more serious things”.

He was interested in absolutely unthinkable things: links of presidential candidates to Poland, Germany and neighbouring Russia and Ukraine. Of course, I was not able to help him with it. No one was able to prove the fantasies generated in the Belarusian KGB, which desired to wash themselves from the bloody fight after the organized by them provocation during the peaceful protest demonstration against the rigged election results.

He was especially interested in some aspects in Andrei Sannikov’s private life, in particular a dinner hosted by businessman Pavel Marynich ahead of the presidential elections, the dinner I was present at. I did not understand why KGB officers turned an ordinary dinner into a secret meeting of conspirators. I say honestly again: we were just eating pilaf and were not planning a coup.

Shunevich said during the interrogation he had already talked to Andrei Sannikov and Iryna Khalip.

“We suspect interference of external forces!” Ihar Shunevich told Uladzimir Kobets, Andrei Sannikov’s campaign manager. Uladzimir told me that when he managed to leave Belarus.

Ihar Shunevich was also noticed at the trial against Ansrei Sannikov spokesman Alyaksandr Atroshchankau, when the latter was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Shunevich was accompanied by bald shaven men in mufti.

But another moment worries me. Shunevich said after the night interrogation it would depend on his decision whether I would be released or not. I was released from the jail two weeks later. It was not freedom – I was released until trial on my own recognizance, but others were not freed.

Was it due to a “special opinion” of Ihar Shunevich that Andrei Sannikov, Zmitser Bandarenka and Mikalai Statkevich still remain in prisons?

Natallia Radzina, editor of charter97.org