Our friend and former colleague Andrei Aliaksandrau has again been writing letters from prison in Belarus. Aliaksandrau and his fiancé Irina Zlobina were detained on 12 January 2021 – almost 550 days ago – and face up to 15 years in prison on charges of treason. The authorities claim that Andrei helped train “at least 260 people to participate in group actions that grossly violate public order”, including paying administrative fines, the cost of meals in places of detention and bills for the services of lawyers. Index on Censorship believes the charges are baseless and politically motivated and he and his co-defendants should be released immediately without charge.
In his letter released last week, Andrei wrote, somewhat sarcastically: “I spent the whole of June travelling – it’s summer as it should be”.
He wrote: “Our trial is secret, but I feel the support and all the vibes well. Now is definitely the most interesting and diverse time in the past year and a half, if only because I am seeing and even sitting next to the people dear to me almost every day. We are in a cheerful mood, our excitement, perhaps, is only from the joy of seeing each other, the flight is normal. There will be no miracles, but no one has expected them. There is no news or surprises here.”
He continued: “How is the summer going on? And how is life in general now? There is little to see from here, and there is only a continuous war on TV. And how is peace?”
“It’s going to be alright. Let’s write further,” he concluded.
Andrei and Irina’s trial has currently been suspended for two months, pending further cirminal proceedings.