1,000 Days Behind Bars: Mikalai Statkevich, Pavel Seviarynets Are Real Belarusian Opposition Leaders9
- 5.03.2023, 18:26
An action of solidarity with the heroes of the resistance took place in Warsaw.
A rally in support of Belarusian opposition leaders Mikalai Statkevich and Pavel Seviarynets took place in Warsaw. The politicians have been held in Lukashenka's prisons for 1,000 days. The action took place in the center of the Polish capital, near the monument to Nicolaus Copernicus.
One of the leaders of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party Yauhen Dudkin, editor-in-chief of the website Charter97.org Natallia Radzina, coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka, leader of the Razam solidarity movement Viachaslau Siuchyk, human rights activist of the Viasna Center Dzmitry Salauyou and others spoke at the rally.
Demands to release all Belarusian political prisoners were heard at the action. It was noted that today there are thousands of prisoners of conscience in the prisons of Belarus, who are subjected to torture and inhuman treatment. The activists spoke about the need to introduce new sanctions against the Lukashenka regime.
Editor-in-chief of the website Charter97.org Natallia Radzina noted that Pavel Seviarynets and Mikalai Statkevich are real opposition leaders who dedicated their lives to the struggle for the freedom of the Belarusian people. Under the Lukashenka regime, Mikalai Statkevich has been in prison for the 12th year, and Pavel Seviarynets for the 10th year, if we sum up all their prison terms, arrests and liberty restrictions.
Natallia Radzina called on diasporas to hold actions in all countries of the European Union and the United States, demanding tougher sanctions against the Lukashenka regime, as well as comply with the sanctions regime imposed against the Belarusian authorities and not allow the regime to bypass the restrictions adopted against it.
The journalist noted that “Belarusians should not rely on anyone, but act on their own, because no one but ourselves will achieve freedom for Belarus.”
European Belarus coordinator Zmitser Bandarenka recalled political prisoners Yauhen Afnahel, Maksim Viniarski, Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk, Andrei Voynich, Pavel Yukhnevich, Syarhei Kazlou — activists of the European Belarus, who have been imprisoned since 2020.
He noted that these people, along with Pavel Seviarynets, Mikalai Statkevich and Ales Bialiatski, are the true leaders of Belarus. The politician also called on Belarusians to be ready to liberate their country from the dictatorship, noting that “liberation of Belarus is in the hands of each of its citizens”.
The rally also adopted an appeal to the President of Poland Andrzej Duda to help release Belarusian political prisoners.
Here is the text of the appeal:
“Dear Mr. President!
We, Belarusian citizens, who were forced to leave Belarus due to the policy of terror and political repressions, are very grateful to the Polish authorities and to you personally for the fact that Poland has become a second home for us, where we can stay legally, have the opportunity to study and work.
Your vision of the future of relations between Poland and Belarus as two good-neighborly independent democratic European states is also very valuable for us.
The Belarusian people also want such a future.
But we, Belarusians, have long been deprived of the right to choose power, which the whole world could see once again in 2020.
And the illegitimate and illegal government in Belarus is challenging European values by throwing thousands of political prisoners into prisons, killing, massively beating and torturing their political opponents. The so-called authorities do not hesitate to announce the destruction of civil society as their goal, emphasizing that the authorities in Belarus believe it’s “no time for the law”, that they, the authorities, serve imperial Russia.
Stalin’s times have practically returned to Belarus, which is proved by every fact of terror and political repressions, including recent illegal sentences, when one of the leaders of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut, was sentenced to 8 years in prison, and the Nobel laureate Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment the day before yesterday.
It is absolutely obvious to us that these repressions, unprecedented for Europe, in Belarus in 2020 were laid down for the sake of cleaning up our country on the eve of a full-scale invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, and are now continuing with the support of imperial Moscow of the illegal regime that seized power in Belarus.
We, the participants of the Warsaw action of solidarity with opposition leaders Mikalai Statkevich and Pavel Seviarynets, appeal to you, Mr. President, with a request to initiate the compilation of a list of Belarusian political prisoners who should be released in the first place. The refusal of the official Minsk to release these political prisoners should lead to tough sanctions against the gang that still controls Belarus and at the same time has fairly extensive trade relations with both the EU countries and the EU partner countries.
In our opinion, this list should begin with the leaders of the Belarusian opposition and civil society, who, in their political and general activity have always been guided by the interests of the Belarusian people, supported democratic European values, and opposed the lawlessness of the Belarusian regime and the imperial policy of the Kremlin.
They are: Ales Bialiatski, Andrzej Poczobut, Mikalai Statkevich, Pavel Seviarynets, Ryhor Kastusiou, Mikalai Kazlou, Yauhen Afnahel, Henadz Drazdou, Maksim Viniarski, Henadz Fiadynich.
In addition, all female political prisoners must be on this list, especially considering the heroism that Anżelika Borys, Palina Sharenda-Panasyuk, and almost all Belarusian political prisoners-women demonstrated and still demonstrate behind bars (according to Dissidentby — 192 people), all journalists (according to BAJ — 32 people), all Belarusian human rights activists (according to Viasna — 12 people), all cultural figures (according to Viasna — 108 people), all pensioners (according to Viasna — 25 people), political prisoners with disabilities and serious illnesses (according to Viasna — 74 people), all minors (according to Dissidentby — 6 people).
We kindly ask you, dear Mr. President, to pay attention to the fact that we demand the release of all Belarusian political prisoners.
But compiling a list of those who should be released urgently will not only start the process of suspending political terror in Belarus, but also neutralize advocates of the Belarusian and Russian regimes, who in the West quite successfully blocked and are blocking the imposition of sanctions precisely for terror and political repressions against Belarusians,” the appeal says.