Update: we are looking for place for more billboards, posters on buildings and also help with describing stories of prisoners. Join campaign.
The project #BelarusHeroes aims to make everyday heroes in Belarus well-known and support them via large public posters in Czech republic, Europe and elsewhere. We are starting in Prague in October 2020. They are political prisoners and they are heroes.The project is organised by stojimezabeloruskem.cz (We stand by Belarus).
… and in coordination within ceskobelarus.cz (Czech-Belarus civil society platform).
Not seen his family since June, despite having very young daughter
According to his wife, he is facing inhumane conditions (see more)
Ihar Losik, administrator of a Telegram channel called Belarus Golovnogo Mozga, was detained on July 25th 2020 and placed in a jail on suspicion of “organizing group actions that grossly violate public order”. The human rights community considers this persecution politically motivated.
Human rights organizations made a joint statement. It claims that the picketing is a peaceful assembly, stipulated by law. Accordingly, neither the events in Hrodna on 29 May during the collection of signatures, nor the solidarity chain in Minsk in June can be considered as a violation of public order.
Human rights activists demand immediate release of Ihor Losik and other political prisoners, as well as termination of the criminal case against them.
Ihar Losik has young daughter, nearly 2 years old. His wife Daria Losik made a facebook video where she describes that they have not seen Ihar since June, that her husband is facing inhumane conditions: small, cold cell without sufficent blanket (when “not yet season” as said by authorities), position next to sick fellow prisoner. She also describes a pressure on her family and blames state aparaturs for torturing them. You can find the video and transcription on facebook profile of Ihar Losik.
Coordinator of the Volunteer Service of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”
In jail since September 2020
Documented peaceful assemblies and also violence, torture by state authorities
Her husband was also arrested and later released
Their laptops, phones, money were confiscated during police raid
As part of her human rights activities, Marfa, together with Viasna’s volunteers, observed peaceful assemblies, took an active part in the independent observation campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, and participated in documenting evidence of torture and other ill-treatment of detained protesters.
Amnesty international wrote: “Marfa Rabkova is a prisoner of conscience who is being targeted for her legitimate activities as a human rights defender, such as observing demonstrations and documenting evidence of human rights violations, including torture and other ill-treatment of peaceful protesters by law enforcement officials. Marfa Rabkova has committed no crime. Prosecuting her for peacefully exercising her human rights and protecting the rights of others is a breach of Belarus’ obligations under international human rights law.”
Member of presidential candidate team of Svietlana
Member of the presidium of the Coordination Council
Abducted on 7 September by a group of masked men presumed to be security agents
Driven to the border the next day, where she was told she would be deported “alive or in bits”.
Refused to leave, destroyed her passport
Then she was put in jail
UN Human rights experts: ““It is particularly troubling that the authorities have resorted to enforced disappearances in an effort to quash protests, stifle dissent and sow fear,” the experts said. “We urge the authorities not to use national security concerns to deny individuals their fundamental rights, among others the rights to opinion, expression, of peaceful assembly and association.”
Ms. Kalesnikava, a musician and political activist, was abducted on 7 September by a group of masked men presumed to be security agents. She was driven to the border the next day, where she was told she would be deported “alive or in bits”. However, she reportedly managed to thwart deportation by ripping up her passport.
She then disappeared for three days with no information on her whereabouts or state of health. On 10 September, authorities said she was held in pre-trial detention in Minsk, and on 16 September, she was officially charged with undermining national security, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.”
There are more than 280 political prisoners in Belarus and many other people were detained for shorter period of time, severely beaten, tortured by state aparatus of the dictator. The main trusted source of information and a list of prisoners can be found on the website of the human rights organization Viasna96, numbers are still growing… https://prisoners.spring96.org/en
Here we have selected a few stories of ordinary people who found themselves in prison only for their involvement in the election campaign or just an active social attitude. More can be found on Viasna page and we will try to cover more. It depends also on your support, you can write us on Join campaign link, where you can write us e-mail for guidance how to organise large billboard posting, support next billboards financially or volunteer in describing stories of #BelarusHeroes – political prisoners. We are adding first selected 10 stories and then full list:
Ten selected stories
Maryna Hlazаva ( Марына Глазава, Марина Глазова) A young woman detained on September 25, 2020 for a chorovod (choral dance) on the street. Since then, he has been in custody in Brest. Accused of participating in a group event that grossly violates public order.
Ihnat Sidorchyk (Ігнат Сідорчык, Игнат Сидорчик) Movie director. He has made several films, some of which he has starred in. He was lost in the first days of the post-election protests, was on the list of missing persons, later found in pre-trial detention in Žodzina, then transferred to Minsk. Accused of organizing mass riots.
Tatsiana Kaneuskaya (Таццяна Канеўская, Татьяна Каневская) Electoral representative of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Gomel, mother of 4 children, participant in the mothers’ movement for more moderate detention sentences for juveniles. Detained the day before the election, on August 8, accused of disobedience towards police officer and organizing mass riots. By profession a teacher, she also worked as a cultural organizer. She was arrested during raid at her home. She was transferred from her native Homel to pre-trial detention in Minsk. Soon we will tell also story of second mother, Alena Maushuk, whose story is also described in article below.
Rastsislau Stefanovich (Расціслаў Стэфановіч, Ростислав Стефанович) Architect. Author of work for Belarus and abroad. Member of the wider body of the Coordination Council. Detained and beaten by OMON on September 28, the charges and place of detention are unknown.
Aliaksandr Vasilevich (Аляксандр Васілевіч, Александр Василевич) Entrepreneur, supporter of Belarusian cultural projects, such as the “cultural space of the Gallery Ў”, an independent information portal kuku.org. Detained on August 28 by the Financial Police Department, the charges are unknown in a prison in Minsk.
Stsiapan Latypau (Сцяпан Латыпаў, Степан Латыпов) Arborist, industrial climber. As an expert in biology, he became involved in the fight with the Heracleum (giant hogweed) plant, personally sprayed larger areas and was also promoted on state television. After he began to oppose repeated destruction of iconic street art “DJs of change” in the yard of his house, he was arrested. He was accused of preparing an attempt to poison police officers due to sprays and chemicals found during the search. In custody since September 15.
Aliaksandr Aranovich (Аляксандр Арановіч, Александр Аранович) Driver of blogger Siarhei Tsikhanouski’s caravan, in which he toured the regions of Belarus while shooting his videos. Arrested at a pre-election meeting in Hrodna on May 29, where signatures were collected for Sviatlana Tsikhanouska. Accused of preparing acts that grossly violate public order.
Ihar Yarmolau (Ігар Ярмолаў, Игорь Ермолов) Volunteer of Viktar Babaryki’s election staff. Detained during the first days of post-election protests, when repressions was particularly brutal. According to his parents, he was beaten so that he had to undergo surgery in a military hospital. After the operation, he was returned to the KGB prison.
Viktar Kuushynau (Віктар Куўшынаў, Виктор Кувшинов) Manager of the Belarusian IT company PandaDoc, registered in the USA. PandaDoc began offering financial support to members of the force troops who voluntarily left work or lost it due to disobedience to criminal orders. Detained September 2. Accused of financial fraud. Other employees of the company, such as the accountant Julio Šardyk, were detained with him.
List of political prisoners in Belarus (not updated frequently)
Taken from http://spring96.org/en/news/49539 (where you can find much more details) and sorted alphabetically. Currently, total number of political prisoners is larger than 280 and still growing very fast. Gradually, we would like to add more links to personal stories of political prisoners, our #BelarusHeroes . If you have capacity to help us, please join campaign.
As you can see, there are many political prisoners in Belarus. We are trying to make their stories public, to show that we are watching how are they treated. To publish as many as possible in best possible public places (in european cities – on billboards, big posters etc.) we need your help, please visit the page Join campaign to see how you can help.
We will gradually publish also killed or missing #BelarusHeroes to commemorate their live and struggle for freedom and to remind that criminal behaviour must be prosecuted (including highest ranked illegally behaving coordinators) to bring at least justice in place for relatives and stop reoccurence.
Preliminary list of killed Belarus heroes (source: wikipedia):
Please contact us in case of data missing/or incorrect.
Victims of police violence in Belarus, August 2020 (source):
Aliaksandr Taraykouski (Alexander Taraikovsky, Аляксандр Тарайкоўскі )(1986—10.08.2020)
Taraikovsky died on August 10, 2020, in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, near Pushkinskaya metro station during the 2020 Belarusian protests against president Alexander Lukashenko. Taraikovsky’s death was recorded as the first death since the beginning of the 2020 Belarusian protests. A video that was published on August 15, 2020, showed Taraikovsky empty-handed being shot by the police. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Taraikovsky
Aliaksandr Vikhor, Аляксандр Аляксандравіч Віхор (1995—11.08.2020)
(1995 – August 11, 2020 , Gomel ) – the second deceased (officially recognized), detained during protests against fraud in the presidential election in Belarus in 2020. Vikhor was detained on election day, August 9, when he was going on a date with a girl. He was thrown into a paddy wagon , but he managed to send an SMS to his family. He got sick after being beaten in a paddy wagon. According to the witness:
He was in terrible stress, sweating, worried, asked for medical help all the time, no one paid attention to him. When we were taken from the court to the pre-trial detention center, he was very ill, he asked for help again, called mom and dad. Then the policemen, or who they were, the convoy or the guards, sprayed him with pepper spray. We were taken out, he was left in a paddy wagon alone. I only heard them ask, “What to do with it?”, And they were told, “Let him breathe.”
The boy was later considered insane and taken to a psychiatric hospital. From there he was taken to hospital in a state of clinical death , but it was too late – he died. Source: https://be.wikipedia.org/wiki/…..
Kanstantsin Shyshmakou, Konstantin Shishmakov, Канстанцін Шышмакоў (1991—15.08.2020)
The director of the museum, who did not sign the voting protocol, was found dead.
Belarusian museum director who refused to sign false election protocol found dead. A volunteer search group in Belarus has found the body of 29-year-old Kanstantsin Shyshmakou (or Konstantin Shishmakov), the director of a military history museum in Vawkavysk who refused to sign a falsified electoral protocol claiming that Aleksandr Lukashenka had won the presidential elections. His body was found in a river, with the investigators asserting that their preliminary assessment is that his death is not of a criminal nature. Since Shyshmakou disappeared the first day after returning to work following his refusal to participate in falsifying the elections, it seems unlikely that this will be believed.
Konstantin’s father, Andrei Shyshmakou contacted TUT.BY on 16 August, saying that “it all began on 9 August” when his son, and another member of the electoral commission, refused to sign the electoral results protocol. He told his family that the document had, in any case, been signed for them. They had been offered a car that would take them home, but had refused, saying: “We have nothing to be ashamed of, we’ll make our own way”. He called his son a man with principles. Source and more: http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1597789267
The father of the deceased director of the Vaukavysk Museum: “I saw everything. This should not happen to loved ones.” https://www.svaboda.org/a/30796067.html
On the night of August 16, 19-year-old Artsyom Parukau died on Partyzanski Avenue in Minsk and was officially hit by a Renault car. A pedestrian died at the scene of the accident. His relatives do not know whether he really took part in the mass actions that day. They do not believe in the version of the boy’s death presented by the police. Source: http://spring96.org/be/news/99346
From Vilejka, lived in Maladzechna for some time, his family lives in Zhodzina. The missing man’s wife told human rights activists that his phone was last turned on in one of the Republican Centers of the Republican Scientific Research Center (Neurology and Neurosurgery). He could not be found there. On August 22, 28-year-old Mikita Kryutsou was found dead in a forest in the Partyzanski district of Minsk. Nikita Kryvtsou disappeared on August 12. According to his relatives, this morning he went to work in the village of Korolev Stan near Minsk. According to the Investigative Committee, Nikita Kryvtsou suffocated, there were no criminal traces on his body.
Nikita’s body in the morgue was examined in the presence of an independent expert, lawyer and father. But the condition of the body did not reveal any visual damage. The IC is conducting an investigation into the death, the results of the official examination are expected. Source: http://spring96.org/be/news/99346
Raman Bandarenka, Раман Бандарэнка (1989- November 12, 2020)
Raman was an aspiring Belarusian designer, and shop manager. His death is associated with the protests against the false numbers of the 2020 Belarusian presidential election.
On the evening of November 11, 2020, in Minsk, he was beaten by masked assailants in civilian clothing in the yard of his apartment building, known locally as “Square of Changes (PloschaPeramen).” He was taken away by minibus. Later, an ambulance brigade brought him unconscious from the Central District Department of Internal Affairs (Police Station) to a local hospital. There he was diagnosed with a large cerebral edema, closed craniocerebral injury, subdural hematomas, bruises, and abrasions. Raman underwent an operation in an attempt to save his life and slipped into a coma. He never recovered and died on November 12, 2020, in the hospital in Minsk. Source: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raman_Bandarenka
There are many heroes, who are supporting freedom and human rights by brave actions of strike – legal stop of work to demand fundamental rights. Miners in Soligorsk are probably the most famous, and most painful for regime dependent on heavy indursty. But everyone in strike is doing work of huge importance #BelarusHeroes
Examples of #BelarusHeroes in strike
Yuriy Korzun In Soligorsk, miner Yuriy Korzun handcuffed himself to mining equipment at his workplace and was going to stay in the mine until his demands were met, Belaruskali strike committee reports. Later he was uncuffed and taken to hospital.
We will add stories of heroes, who were tortured by Belarus state organisation members during 2020 protests. Many suffered trauma, some are publicly known and willing to share their stories. All are heroes, all are dealing with long lasting consequences of state terror of dictator of Belarus.
We will be asking public figures (from pro-democratic political parties, but also outside politics) in Czech republic to be patrons of political prisoners. Patrons can: share stories on social networks, write to ambassadors, support families, write to prison or support large billboards to make prisoners stories well-known.
List of first patrons and who will they support:
Václav Láska, member of czech senate – Marfa Rabkova, member of human rights organisation Viasna
Marek Hilšer, member of czech senate – Marya Kalesnikava, music teacher, one of Belarus oposition leaders
Anna Šabatová, former ombudsman — Ihar Losik, journalist, blogger
Markéta Gregorová, member of European parliament — Kasia Budzko, student
Would you like to install your poster, billboard in your town, country and support one or more actual political prisoners? Contact us and we will provide advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you prefer financial support via our transparent account? All resources will be used for printing and installation costs in Czech republic towns. We try to avoid rent fees – we use our supporters areas for free. Link to transparent account: https://ib.fio.cz/ib/transparent?a=2700855834