Having been released, the political prisoners immediately gave an interview to the charter97.org web-site.
Young Front’s leader Dzmitry Dashkievich was released from the prison in Hrodna today at 6.30 in the morning. Wife and dozens of his friends and supporters waited for him the whole night near the prison walls.
The political prisoners was arrested on 18 December 2010, a day before the presidential elections, and spent over 2.5 years in the conditions of tortures, penal cells, single cells, pressure and isolation.
Right near the prison walls Dzmitry Dashkievich gave an interview to the charter97.org web-site’s editor-in-chief Natalia Radzina over the phone.
- Dzmitry, congratulations! We have been waiting for you for so long. We have thousands of questions, but we will start from the simplest in the first interview. How are you feeling having been released?
- Thank you! I am very glad to hear you! I have not yet realized how I am feeling. I have been released. I am glad that so many people came to meet me, that they did not sleep the whole night waiting for me near at the prison walls. I feel very good. I am very healthy, we will keep fighting.
- How did they release you?
- Usually the reveille in prison is at 6 a.m., but already at 5.30 they brought porridge to me. I exercised, poured water on myself, ate my favorite prison porridge, and they told me: “Go, Dashkievich, we cannot hold you any longer, get out”.
- How did you survive these years in prison, even more so in such terrible conditions?
- What can you do. A person is put into conditions, and the person bears, there was no choice.
- How do they treat political prisoners today?
- On the part of the convicts the treatment is good. Everywhere, where I was in prison, they supported me. Even some representatives of the administration. They shared food, supported with a good word. I cannot name these people, but I am thankful to all of them. They read Charter’97, other independent media. I am very grateful to every person, who supported me in prison. Om the part of the administration the treatment is different.
- We constantly received information that you were under unprecedented pressure.
- There were many such attempts. One of the maddest colonies is the one in Horki. It should be spoken of separately. A system is built there where the thieves do whatever the administration tells them. This could happen in other place too. In some cases these people could be understood. Their imprisonment term is 25 years, they would do whatever were told.
Nevertheless, even in Horki there were wardens and prisoners, who supported me. I will repeat this once again: I am very grateful. The time will come and I will be able to name the prisoners and wardens, who helped me survive and bear all this.
- We know about provocations against political prisoners. Mikalaj Statkievich has recently reported that the prisoners of conscience are even threatened with being raped.
- I hope it does not go as far as physical violence. They are afraid of even beating political prisoners, but they do can threat. They threatened me in Mazyr, although I understood that they were aggravating the situation, were trying a psychological system: whether I would break or not.
Yes, there can be threats. But I perceived this more or less calmly. I would not say that completely calmly, but still. I knew that while I still had, like a singer once sang, “the last tooth, I would bite their heads off with that tooth”. I knew that I would be able to stand up for myself and would not give up easily.
- What did your and Nasta’s wedding mean to you in prison?
- One the one hand, it was a nominal procedure. But I was very glad that I could see Nasta. We want to get married in church soon.
- Belarusian authorities are trading on political prisoners today to their utmost. Your release too, although you have spent an additional year behind bars, will be presented by them as a step towards meeting the West’s demands.
- I perceive any bargaining very negatively. I follow certain values and base my activities on them, I stood for them when at large, and in prison, and will keep standing for them. That is why I am very negative in this regard.
It would, of course, a complete folly to claim that this is some step towards the West. Even more so that we understand: today you are in prison, tomorrow – at large, and again in prison the day after tomorrow. The case of Uladzimir Jaromienak, who was again sentenced for three months, is an evidence of that. I must stay at home, go nowhere, etc. We are released from one prison to another.
I am, of course, glad, that in this larger prison I will be able to be near my beloved woman, with people dear to me, but all this is very relative in our country, unfortunately.
I know that many political prisoners had to leave Belarus. There are many examples, when even abroad people do more for Belarus to return to a civilized development path. I am not going to leave. I will be acting from this side, someone – from abroad. Let’s all put the efforts in order to live in a different, new Belarus.
- What will be your first steps at large?
- First, I intend to eat. Then we will decide according to the situation. I will keep practicing the same activities as before. Nothing changes.
Now we are going to Staryja Darohi to visit my father. I am planning on coming to Minsk in the evening, although they told me that I must get registered at Piershamajski police department before 5 p.m. I cannot imagine how we will manage. I do not know where Piershamajski police department is, I could be looking for it for half a year. We will see. In any case, they told me that I was obliged to do it today and follow these prison supervision regulations.
- Dzmitry, millions of people worried about your fate. Do you want to tell anything to these people?
- I am very thankful to God, all the people, friends, believers, who prayed, supported, wrote to me. This is the most important for any convict, even more so for a person, who was engaged in civil and political activities and got to prison.
It is important to know that there are people, who keep these activities going, support, sacrifice. I am very grateful that many people spent the night near the prison, did not sleep in order only to wait for me. I am very touched by such a treatment and thankful to every person, who supported me in their thought, prayers, letters. Together we will overcome anything, and only in this unity there is our strength and the guarantee for our close victory.