He turns 40 years old.
Belarusian political prisoner and activist of the anarchist movement Ihar Alinevich marks his 40th birthday today. Ihar took an active part in protests and solidarity in Belarus.
The Lukashenka regime tried Ihar Alinevich for the first time in 2011. The Belarusian anarchist was detained on November 28, 2010, in Moscow by security officers and illegally taken to Minsk, to the KGB pre-trial detention center. Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok and Aliaksandr Frantskevich were convicted in the Anarchist Case six months later. Ihar received a maximum sentence of 8 years in a high-security prison. He was serving his term until August 2015.
In 2013, Ihar Alinevich was awarded with Frantsishak Aliakhnovich Prize of the Belarusian PEN Centre for his novel called “Going to Magadan”. He became the first laureate of this prize and, in 2016, he also became a laureate of the Charter-97 National Award for the Protection of Human Rights named after Viktar Ivashkevich for 2015 in the category “For Personal Courage”.
In 2015, shortly after his release, Alinevich left Belarus. His mother Valiantsina Alinevich had been dissuading her son from coming back to Belarus until the autumn of 2020.
Ihar Alinevich after his release from prison in 2015.
“He was eager to come back to his homeland. Naturally: to see his parents, and so on. But I understood that it was dangerous. Because even when he was not here, they still were coming and looking for him - police officers and some other individuals. Therefore, I told him that if he returned, he would simply be captured before Brest. I underestimated him and didn’t think that he would still decide to get into this lair,” Valiantsina said.
On the night of October 28-29, 2020, Ihar was detained while crossing the state border of Belarus by border guards. The Lukashenka regime accused him of “terrorism” and illegal arms trafficking. Ihar Alinevich himself stated that he consciously exercised the right to revolt.
“I can say about Ihar the same thing that any mother can say about her son: he is the best.” This supports me - no one will tell me that he is a bandit or some kind of criminal, he has a reputation as a decent person among friends and acquaintances,” says Valiantsina Alinevich.
Ihar Alinevich on vacation in Montenegro, 1996.
On December 22, 2021, the court sentenced him to 20 years in a high security prison.
“Then, when I recovered from the first shock [after his arrest], he wrote to me in a letter: ‘Mom, I had to do it, and you must know this’. We watched the videos that he recorded before crossing the border, and I saw so much pain in his eyes - he was more worried about people than about himself. There he is who he really is,” the political prisoner’s mother said.