Lukashenko called the IOC a gang, three more priests were arrested, five people were sentenced to years in prison for making the inscription “Let’s not forget” on the asphalt
8 December 2020 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Lukashenko calls members of the International Olympic Committee a gang
The reaction to the IOC’s decision was not long in coming. Alexander Lukashenko emotionally commented on the IOC’s ban on attending the Olympic Games to him and the officials of the NOC of Belarus: “We need to go to court. Let Bach and his gang tell me what I am to blame for defending my country?! […] Why should I be punished so that I do not take part in some events… I have not taken part in them for 25 years, I will survive in the future! But why are you doing this? And then, have you gathered the International Olympic Committee, all countries, more than a hundred, to discuss this issue? They are afraid to stick their nose out of the hole because of COVID!”
However, Lukashenko’s statement that he did not participate in the Olympic Games is not true. In 1998, Lukashenko attended the Olympics in Nagano, Japan in violation of international protocols, without notifying the Japanese side of his visit. Lukashenko also attended the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. For Lukashenka, the sport of high achievement has always been a propaganda tool. Therefore, the IOC’s ban even more affects both his international image and his status within Belarus.
A Cuban has been kept behind bars for over a month for protests in Belarus. Deportation and prison await him at homeland
Roberto Valdos Сasanueva has lived in Belarus for over 30 years, he is a member of the Belarusian Union of Designers. He was detained at the March of People’s Power on 8 November and after 15 days of arrest was supposed to be released. However, he is still being held in custody. One of the inmates said that the jailer took away his glasses, although he has a high degree of hyperopia. “He cannot read, he cannot draw. You can imagine how hard it is for him, a creative person – there is nothing to occupy himself with. In addition, his relatives sent him a letter, but for some reason the warders gave only the envelope, but the letter itself did not. It’s just a mockery,” says Vadzim Suhoits, who was in the same cell with the famous Belarusian-Cuban designer.
Moreover, Casanueva did not have his residence permit extended due to his political stance. The process of deportation from Belarus to Cuba has been launched, where he will also be imprisoned, since Cuba supports the Lukashenko regime.
According to Belarusian legislation, a person who is awaiting deportation can be detained for an indefinite period. Some foreigners, while awaiting deportation, spent six months in detention centres without the necessary clothing and hygiene products, without contact with their relatives. Human rights activists regard the long stay in isolation wards as cruel and humiliating treatment, because isolation wards are unsuitable for keeping people for long periods. Now the Belarusian authorities are actively using deportation as a means of fighting dissidents.
Sentences for the inscription “Let’s not forget” at the scene of the murder of Taraikouski
After the murder of Aliaksandr Taraikouski near the “Pushkinskaya” metro station in Minsk, a spontaneous memorial was built at the place of his death. People brought flowers, candles, posters and wrote words on the paving slabs in memory of the victim. For one such phrase “Let’s not forget” five sentences were passed today.
A judge found the residents of Minsk Maryia Babovich and Maksim Pauliushchyk guilty of hooliganism. Pauliushchyk was sentenced to two years in a general regime colony. Babovich received a year and a half of restriction of freedom without sending to prisons for the inscription written with an error “we will not forget”. Pauliushchyk has a pregnant girlfriend.
On the same day, sentences were passed against Dzianis Hrakhanau, Ihar Samusenka – both received a year and a half of restriction of freedom without sending to prison. Uladzislau Hulis under a similar criminal article was sentenced to two years in a strict regime colony. According to the Viasna Human Rights Centre, the men tried to restore the inscription “Let’s not forget” near the Pushkinskaya metro station. The prosecution considered this inscription “cynical, offending the feelings of citizens, demonstrating a disregard for moral values, aimed at causing harm to public order and public morality.” All five activists were recognized as political prisoners by human rights activists.
A criminal case has not been opened into the murder of Aliaxandr Taraikouski.
Arrests of priests continue in Belarus
In Vitsebsk, the priest of the Greek Catholic Church Aliaksei Varanko and priest Viktar Zhuk were detained. In August, Aliaksei Varanko took part in peaceful actions. He is one of those priests who signed the appeal of Belarusian believers to the authorities demanding to hold new presidential elections and end the violence. He was detained on the street due to the initiation of an administrative case under Article 23.34 “Violation of the procedure for organizing or holding mass events.” It is not yet known what the detainee Viktar Zhuk is accused of. The trial of the priests is expected in the coming days. Also, within the framework of the criminal case “on terrorism” opened against the former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich, the entire family of the Orthodox priest Siarhei Rezanovich was detained. In recent months, there has been an obvious increase in the repressions of the authorities against representatives of different denominations in Belarus.
For more information on the events of 8 December 2020, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: