24 January 2020, Friday, 2:10
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Sannikov on NTV: it is crucial that everyone is exonerated

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Sannikov on NTV: it is crucial that everyone is exonerated

Andrei Sannikov told about the recent eighteen months of his life, and the things that matter the most.

The political prisoner and former presidential candidate gave a long interview to the program Central Television on the Russian TV-channel NTV.

Host Vadim Takmenev started the program with opening words:

- This person has never lived in Northern Korea, a country with 200 000 political prisoners and prison terms given for jokes about the chieftain. But apparently in good old Belarus victims of the regime are a reality, too. Former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov has just spent his first week as a free man. Last weekend, on the orthodox Easter, Aliaksandar Lukashenka suddenly granted pardon to the most well-known Belarusian political prisoner. In 2010 Sannikov was Lukashenka’s strongest competition, and right after the election his first term began. A prison term. A year and half, no written correspondence allowed.

- Good evening, Andrei. How are you feeling? You seem to be, how to say, more mature. I can tell.

- Good evening, Vadim. Yes, I’ve grown old, I agree. I feel all right, more or less. I’m alive, that’s what matters.

- What has been your strongest impression from this first week as a free man?

- The strongest impression is exactly what I’ve been longing for, the meeting with my youngest son. I think that our communication is still a bit awkward; he hasn’t seen me for such a long time, and I have some emotional hinders. But the feeling is amazing.

- Of course, only few people have experienced what you’ve been through. Can you tell us about these eighteen months in prison?

- To say it was hard is not enough. The toughest was transfers between different reformatories and problems that followed. I was constantly held under pressure, psychological and even physical. I mean that the confinement conditions were very harsh.

- Do you have an explanation to why you have been released now, so unexpectedly?

- I was waiting for the release since October, every day – even every minute. I believe that first of all, this is a result of the resentment after the unjust verdicts and confinement of the political prisoners in jails and reformatories.

- Andrei, what will you be doing now? Fight for rehabilitation, get back to the politics or take a break?

- I cannot say at the moment. I really do not understand on what cloud I am. The most important now is to get my life back. I knew it would be hard. But when I was released, I saw how difficult it really is. It is crucial that everyone is exonerated. A huge number of people are behind the bars for nothing. And this is what troubles me most.

- Thank you, Andrei.

- Thank you, Vadim. And I’d like to once again thank everyone who supported my family. I have received loads of letters from Russia. And it was great.