12 December 2017, Tuesday, 19:14

Lukashenka Got People's Nose Out of Joint

15

Through their actions the regime has made inexorable enemies.

Coordinator of the European Belarus campaign told about it Charter97.org after 24 days of arrest for participation in Freedom Day.

- You've heroically come off one of the longest arrest after March 25. What were confinement conditions?

- First eight days I spent in a temporary holding facility, and the rest of the sentence I spent in the Offenders Isolation Centre at Akrestsina. Since 2011-2014 conditions have remained unchanged: short walks, sweat cameras. As for prison guards, they have been more impudent than in recent years. Perhaps, they took over the nervousness of the authorities.

- During the arrest you had an opportunity to reconsider and assess the political situation in Belarus. What could you say about the situation in the country?

- Lukashenka's regime clearly demonstrates lack of intention to take any reforms and it is going to keep using only repressive methods.

Europe should finally see that an evolution of the system is impossible. Lukashenka is not able to perform within civilizational frameworks, even in conditional ones.

- What should be the policy line of the EU regarding the Lukashenka's regime?

- I'd like to recall that sanctions introduced earlier were fruitful. At least political prisoners were released in Belarus after 2010. Now there are political prisoners in the country again. It means that the toughest sanctions on the regime require imposition.

Sanctions ought to be imposed both on those who bankroll the regime and those who participate in suppression of civil protests and freedom of expression in Belarus.

- You've mentioned the term "political prisoners". Does this status required by defendants in the Patriot case?

- It should be done as soon as possible. It will surely promote their early release.

With regard to the Viasna position in this case, I would like to point out that human rights activists have already made such a mistake when they did not recognize Mikhail Zhemchuzhny a political prisoner. It was not done in time because some human rights activists allegedly "were not fully apprised of the situation". That is why Zhemchuzhny failed to be in a previous group of the released political prisoners. I do hope that now human rights activists will find moral and physical strength to recognize defendants in the White Legion case political prisoners and it will be easier for us to release them.

I'd like to say that the regime is frightened with public protests and it's trying to intimidate people in return. The persecution of Dzmitry Palienka is implemented for the same purpose. All these things are only a provocation on the part of the authorities.

I am convinced that they will not be able to stop true patriots of Belarus and intimidate them.

I can see the opposite effect. Such activities like a brutal dispersal of a peaceful action on Freedom Day have mobilized and got people's nose out of joint. Now even those who ignored the events express their intention to join protesters.

In my view, based on what I was able to hear during my arrest, the Lukashenka's regime only made more inexorable enemies.

- What are your plans for the near future?

- The main thing is to keep practicing the protest activity. There are no grounds to weaken the intensity of our struggle. On the contrary, Lukashenka gives more reasons for protests by his foolish and shortsighted policy. The resistance continues.