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Andrei Sharenda: This Award Is For All Women Political Prisoners

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Andrei Sharenda: This Award Is For All Women Political Prisoners
PALINA SHARENDA-PANASIUK

Thousands of prisoners of the Lukashenka regime keep fighting.

The Belarusian Human Rights Community Prize ceremony took place in Vilnius on December 10. This prize is awarded annually for achievements in the field of human rights. The first winner in the new “Human Rights Solidarity of the Year” became Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk, an activist of the European Belarus Civil Campaign.

The political prisoner’s husband, European Belarus activist Andrei Sharenda, gave an interview to Charter97.org. He said that he considers this prize to be an award for all women in Lukashenka’s dungeons:

“This prize is also for the unconquered Viktoryia Kulsha, who has already been tried three times, and her sentence has become truly endless. Viktoryia has spent more than 70 days in terrible conditions in a punishment cell for the last 3 months, but she keeps fighting for her honour and dignity.

This is a reward for Volha Zalatar, a mother of five children who, even in prison, continues to speak Belarusian, believe in God and inspire other political prisoners.

This is a prize for Alena Hnauk, a simple pensioner. He has the willpower and courage that any man can envy. This is a reward for Alena Lazarchyk, who is resisting, and whose fate has been unknown for more than six months.

Human rights activists announced figures at the award ceremony. According to them, there are about 1,500 political prisoners in Belarus. Some of them refer to the figure of 1,700 political prisoners. But in reality, there are many more. At the same meeting, some former political prisoners said that there were several times more prisoners of the Lukashenka regime. The real number of political prisoners may even exceed 5,000 people. This means that the names of thousands of political prisoners are unknown to us. Our priority task is to find their names so that their struggle, their suffering are not in vain.

Already this week, on December 15, the Homiel regional “court” will consider an appeal against Palina’s latest sentence. It is clear that this is just a formality, and the verdict will be upheld.

But this means that already this week they may take Palina from the pre-trial detention center #3 in the city of Homiel, where she has spent the last few months. Most likely, Palina will be transferred again to the penal colony #24 in Zarechcha. This penal colony is for persistent women offenders, which is known for its cruel conditions of detention. That’s, let’s say, a “Groundhog Year” for Palina – constant trials in a punishment cell and cell-rooms. But Palina does not give up and keeps fighting. She is sincerely grateful to everyone for the wave of solidarity with her over the past few months, and for the hundreds of letters, transfers and parcels. Palina calls on Belarusians not to give up on the path to freedom in Belarus!

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