Relatives Of Belarusian Political Prisoners Await Their Release
Lukashenka’s new game: the KGB&# 160; against&# 160; political prisoners&# 160;
Even after leaving the jail, many political prisoners in Belarus continue to remain silent. Why?&# 160;
Political analyst Vitaly Shklyarov, released from the pre-trial detention center in Minsk after a conversation with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, refused to communicate with journalists. Other recently released political prisoners also remain silent, except for Yuri Voskresensky, who criticizes the Belarusian opposition in an interview with local media. The interlocutors of the Russian service “Voice of America”, who went through the torture chambers of the Belarusian KGB, told what leverage the Lukashenka regime uses to force the dissenters to either keep silent or cooperate with the special services.
Political scientist Vitaly Shklyarov, arrested in Belarus, on whose release US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as human rights activists and representatives of the professional community insisted, was transferred on recognizance not to leave.
The Russian service of the Voice of America was informed about this by lawyer Anton Gashinsky, who on Tuesday published a photo of a joint run with Vitaly Shklyarov on social networks. The political scientist does not plan to give any comments for the media yet, Gashinsky emphasized. “He took a break. He was given the opportunity to take care of his mother, who is now undergoing chemotherapy after an oncological operation, ”said the lawyer.
He explained that changing the measure of restraint to a recognizance not to leave means that Shklyarov is prohibited from leaving the country. The political scientist is still involved in the criminal case. “Our plan of action is to get all charges dropped,” the lawyer said..
“Shklyarov was a bargaining chip for Lukashenka, but he did not expect that the political scientist’s case would cause such a stir in the United States and Russia. However, the release of Shklyarov will not release Lukashenko from responsibility for what he does: as they say, we will not forget, we will not forgive, ”Russian opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov told Voice of America..
Let us remind you that Shklyarov and six other political prisoners, including 67-year-old representative of the Coordination Council of the opposition of Belarus Lilia Vlasova, were released from the pre-trial detention center shortly after meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka. At the meeting, which his opponents compared to negotiations between a terrorist and hostages, he offered political prisoners to work together on the reform of the Constitution of Belarus.
According to Belarusian media, half of the participants in the meeting with Lukashenko, including one of the leaders of the opposition in Belarus Sergei Tikhanovsky, ex-presidential candidate Viktor Babariko and his son, and other political prisoners, remain in custody..
Sources of the Russian service “Voice of America”, familiar with the content of the meeting, said that Tikhanovsky and Babariko are supporters of a hard line in relations with Lukashenko..
Tikhanovsky shouted at Lukashenka: “Let me go, let me go!”
During the meeting, Sergei Tikhanovsky spoke with Lukashenko in a raised voice. “He shouted to him – let me go, let me go,” the ex-political prisoner said in an interview with Tut.By. Yuri Voskresensky. “When Tikhanovsky started shouting at the president, the president began to oppose him, we began to calm him down, that is, the meeting was on the verge of collapse”.
According to Voskresensky, who was sitting on the right hand of Lukashenka, he personally reassured Tikhanovsky: “I said:“ Seryozha, you calm down. It is clear that you are offended that you were treated, perhaps not entirely fair. But you are a politician, you wanted this, you can enjoy it, so sit and rest “.
After an interview in which he called Lukashenko a “strong leader”, Voskresensky was accused of implementing a scenario developed by the KGB of Belarus.
Editor-in-chief of the independent Internet portal “Charter-97” Natalia Radina – a former political prisoner – explained to the Voice of America how the special services of Belarus operate.
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“This situation with the release of some political prisoners reminds me very much of 2010-2011, presidential candidates in Belarus, protesters, and myself, also ended up in prison,” Radina recalls.
After Lukashenka began to release some political prisoners, a number of them were offered release on preferential terms: in exchange for cooperation with the KGB, says Radina..
“There are testimonies of people where they said that they were released on the basis that they signed papers on cooperation with the KGB. This obliged them to meet with intelligence officers and answer their questions, says Radina. – Moreover, some more people made some appeals from the TV screen, where they slandered other political prisoners, announced attempts to organize a coup d’etat and spread other lies that were written for them by the KGB. The same thing is happening now. “.
According to Radzina, after Voskresensky’s interview about “wise Lukashenka”, there were suggestions that he signed documents on cooperation with the KGB even before his arrest, or was introduced into the opposition as an agent.
“While others, like Lilia Vlasova, are under house arrest and cannot comment on the media. The same is with Shklyarov, who cannot leave the country and reunite with his family. The task of the regime is to shut up the mouths of people, “- emphasizes the interlocutor of the” Voice of America “.
“Not a single word of Lukashenka can be trusted”
Russian opposition politician Ilya Ponomarehe told the Voice of America that Alexander Lukashenko “is pursuing a policy of holding hostages,” which is clearly seen in the example of the forced silence of Vitaly Shklyarov. “Vitaly is still inside the country, this allows him to be returned to the pre-trial detention center at any time,” the politician says..
According to Ponomarev, Lukashenka needs to win over the opposition in order to carry out the constitutional reform that he promised to Vladimir Putin, which is why he started negotiations with political prisoners and changed the measure of restraint for some of them..
Natalya Radzina stressed that not a single word of Lukashenka can be trusted: “He is simply bargaining with the West, because he is afraid of new sanctions. And there are still hundreds of political prisoners in prisons ”.
“These are not only Viktor Babariko and Sergei Tikhanovsky, who certainly need to be released, but also Nikolai Statkevich and Pavel Sevyarynets, as well as many famous Belarusian bloggers such as Sergei Petrukhin, Andrei Kabanov, Igor Losik, Dmitry Kozlov and many others who, have done a lot for the Belarusian revolution “, – said Radina.
Opposition of Belarus promises “nationwide strike”
As a reminder, October 25 expires the date of the “people’s ultimatum” announced to Lukashenka by ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
Tikhanovskaya demanded that Lukashenka resign from the post of President of Belarus, stop violence against protesters and release all political prisoners. If these requirements are not met, then, according to the opposition, from October 26 "there will be a national strike of all businesses, blocking of all roads, a collapse in sales in state stores"
It should be reminded that protests against the results of the presidential elections in Belarus have been going on since August 9. The USA and the European Union called the election results falsified.
Journalist, on "Voice of America" since 2019. In 2011-2018 he worked as a political observer in the department of politics "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" in Moscow. Winner of the American Hubert Humphrey Fellowship in Journalism. Trained at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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