16 January 2018, Tuesday, 20:28

Iryna Khalip: “The keep holding me as a hostage”


In early October Lukashenka promised that he would allow the journalist to freely leave the country, but has failed to stand up to the promise.

Thirteen days ago, on 9 October Aliaksandr Lukashenka in an interview to The Independent promised to let Iryna Khalip to move freely, including travelling to Moscow.

Accroding to Iryna Khalip, the British journalist Evgeni Lebiadzeu sincerely believed the words of the Belarusian ruler, whereas she took them skeptically from the very beginning:

“I found that out in 10 minutes. As from Lukashenka Lebiadzeu went directly to me and said: “Pack up, let’s go to Moscow. You are free, you have been released”. On his way to my place he managed to call my editor in chief Dzmitry Muratau and he also called me and said that he was waiting for me in Moscow. But I told them that they should not take seriously the words of the man. If I were a murderer, then I could have been released like those murderers of the arsonist, whom Lukashenka ordered to release at one meeting and a police car immediately took them home. But I’m not a murderer, but a journalist”.

In April 2011 Iryna Khalip was sentenced to 2 years in prison with a 2 year postponement for participating in mass protests on 19 December 2010, Radio Svaboda reports.

The journalist is not allowed to leave Minsk without a permission from the criminal executive inspection, has to be home from evening till morning, any minute she can be visited – and she is visited – by police with an inspection. On 15 October, already after the meeting of Aliaksandr Lukashenka with the journalist of The Independent Iryna Khalip went to a police department to make a regular registration and they didn’t tell her about any alterations in the status of hers.

Iryna Khalip doesn’t want to go to the train station and get on the train Minsk-Moscow on her own without permission as she considers that she might worsen her position since legally this would mean that she tried to escape.

Is the police preparing document for Iryna Khalip’s release? A staff member of the criminal executive inspection of the Partisan district’s police department, where the journalist is a registrant, immediately dodged the question.

- You have the journalist Iryna Khalip registered. In the meanwhile there is an interview of Aliaksandr Lukashenka in which he…

- I will not give any comments, call to the press-service of the city’s police.