Giving a voice to those imprisoned unjustly in Belarus
Following a highly disputed election, Belarusian dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka claimed victory in August 2020. Protests erupted and a vicious crackdown ensued. More than one year on from the election, there are more than 600 political prisoners in Belarus.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners gives unjustly detained individuals a voice by collecting, translating, and publishing letters on our channels on a weekly basis.
Psychologist and human rights defender
Detained on 9 November 2021
"I saw through the tower window of Pishchalauski castle prison. I try to realise I am in the center of Minsk, because my perception has narrowed to the size of a small cell and it seems that nothing else has ever existed."
"I certainly do not stop believing in the miracle that everything will be over soon, but in my head I realise that I'll be here for so long and will not be able to see sunsets and sunrises with you, the first snow, spring rains. It tears me apart inside."
Designer and architect
Detained on 28 September 2020
"[Being apart from you] does not bring joy, so something needs to change :) But I hope you and the kids are using this time for personal development. Gaining experience in life without "Daddy", solving new problems on your own, learning to enjoy everything that happens."
Clothing designer and charity worker
Detained on 23 March 2021
"In prison, the only time you don’t feel the prison atmosphere is in your dreams...Most people who aren’t in prison have a negative mentality - they can't live in the present or distract themselves from their mediocre problems."
"The prison 'community' is fertile ground for myths. Any grain of information, even dried out and broken, grows quickly here. It sprouts a mutant. A Hydra with the body of a kitten and the stately gaze of an orc."
"It can't go on like this for much longer, it just can't. I know we will endure it with dignity, though it is not easy for all of us, on this side of the fence and on the other. Then we will laugh, cry, and shout, but we will do it together."
"Penguin and Papa paced nonstop from wall to wall. To the guards above, they must have looked like zombies flailing around the little courtyard in desperation :) The cement walls are in bad condition, and there’s a lattice overhead, and a few green leaves higher up along the walls. Sometimes good things can grow, even in cement."