Picket to collect signatures for the nomination of presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovska. I was carrying out a legal activity, which was entrusted to me by the Central Election Commission. Everything was according to the law: I wore a mask and gloves, as the sanitary norms demanded. I took people's passports, recorded their identity data, checked everything. Later I had to hand over the signature sheets to the election commission in Hrodna. At this point the very same provocation happens. In the distance of the events I was sitting at the table. Law-enforcers run up and take me together with my chair towards a dark minibus. A blow to the face. Darkness. The pain. I woke up on the floor of the minibus. I was lying with my head down and they were giving me a painful massage on my wrists for some reason.
There were wounds and bruises on my face, arms and legs, my right ear was torn, which the hospital later stitched up. As it turned out later, I was injured during the arrest. But I don't remember fully what was happening, because I lost consciousness for a short time. What happened on May 29th came as a big surprise to me. At the time I had a thought in my head: now I've been kidnapped, so the worst can happen — they can take you to the woods and leave you there forever.
Initially I was suspected under Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Belarus. How did I, being at the table, influence the fact that the man fell down? It was some ridiculous and invented reason to detain us. Already being in the detention center in Volodarskogo, I learned that my article had been changed to 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus. That day, of course, changed me. Now I understand that what happened was unacceptable. It shouldn't happen in a normal free country, when people are put in jail for their legitimate activities. And a person has to serve his sentence in full for nothing. For a long time I did not understand why I was behind bars. But now I do. After I received the verdict and served a year in jail, I read the line in the sentence — gave Tikhanovsky a slipper as a symbol of protest. And it clicked in my head — that's what I was in jail for, it turns out.
I was sentenced to two years in a minimum-security penal colony. But I wasn't transferred to my cell group and was put directly into a punishment cell (SIZO), where I spent 1.5 months of my incarceration. This place is the worst place to be. You don't even have a mattress for the night. You have to sleep on a bare "bunk". There are no walks, no letters, no parcels. The only things you have are slippers, soap, towels, toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste. The main problem is the cold. I got into the off-heating season, when it was cold outside and cold in the cell. I had to get up 3-4 times a night to do physical exercises to get warm. Frankly speaking, 1.5 years in detention were easier than the last 1.5 months in the solitary confinement, where I felt constant hunger besides the cold. There I was placed on a second profiling list, as prone to extremism. Before that, when there were still trials in Grodno, they put me on a profiling list, as prone to attacking the administration and taking hostages. Although this is absurd — with my article I was not placed on such a register, and the suspicion of violence against a police officer had been removed from my record by that time. It was there that I was put in the punishment cell — the first time for sitting on the bench and not on the bed, then for refusing to handcuff me, then I simply kept silent during the commissions. These were all considered violations. I spent 33 days in solitary confinement. I spent five of them — starving myself against being placed on the preventive detention list.
It came as a big surprise to me when I was told the day before my official release that I could get out today. I was surprised at the news and asked to call my parents to let them know. But I was told that everything was fine and that my parents were already waiting. But it turned out already after my release that they found out about this very date by chance — my father had been coming to the colony and demanded a meeting with the administration. He was released on October 21, 2021, with a receipt stating his obligation to report to the police department at his place of residence within three days. After I was released from the colony I came to Minsk, got on a bus and left for another country. I was afraid that I could be stopped at the border, but that did not happen. I didn't want to leave at first, but then I decided to leave Belarus, because I had outstanding administrative arrests under Article 23.34 (7 days) and 23.4 (10 days) of the Administrative Code of Belarus. Now I am safe. And the main plans are to restore my mental and physical condition.
How much is needed?
2060€ — to pay for medical examination, dental, psychotherapeutic and other procedures as well as to buy food, medicines, rented accommodation, public transport.