After the August 9, 2020 presidential election, I, like many Belarusians, had a wave of outrage turned into rage and a burning sense of justice, I had a powerful energy to fight for the truth and for the victims of those days. I spent half of August and September volunteering near the prison in Okrestina. I helped people who were outside to solve their legal problems and drove around the prison, the police department and courts to get certificates, to go through medical examinations and make appeals, etc.
I also took part in daily solidarity chains and weekend marches. I took part in the recording of famous protest videos.
The first time I was detained was at a Sunday march in October. Bus/car/truck/DIA/detention center/Okrestin TDF/court on Skype. And my first article 23.34 and a fine/ Later I was made two more protocols for participation in protests, the courts were held, I received two more fines. Thus, by New Year's Eve 2021 I had 3 articles 23.24.
I worked as a salesman in Minsk before the election. After August everything changed. I myself did not need anything except the simplest and most basic things: safety, loved ones alive, healthy and near me, freedom (country, people, choices). I could not offer these things to my customers. So in August my income stopped, I went on vacation without pay. All the time, until the day of the last detention in July, I continued to struggle in different ways.
I lived with my kids for half a year in a friends' apartment, with a “clean” phone and someone else's SIM card, because they had been looking for me since February. On July 5, at 10 a.m., I went to the supermarket to buy some groceries. My daughter and I were detained outside the store when I got out of my car. The KGB officers told me to follow them. As I was taking my daughter to the country house, we also had my dog with us. They took away our phones and told us to follow the official car to the police department for a “conversation”, which would take no more than an hour, or to get into the official car.
I know that we have a criminal offense for resisting, so I shook off the thought of escape. My daughter and her dog were left in the car, they took me into the office and immediately told me that if I answered their questions I would be released to my daughter. But I could not answer the questions they asked me, due to my persuasion. I was held for several hours and staff from another police department were summoned. Of course they wouldn't let me go.
So that my daughter was with me I took her and the investigator, who came to pick me up, to the police department in my car. My daughter was left in the car again and they took me in for questioning. It lasted an hour and a half, after which they put me in the jail. After another 30 minutes I started pounding on the door and asking to be released, as detaining women with underage children for over three hours was a direct violation of the law. Moreover, the child is alone in an open car with the keys. An hour later my daughter was brought to the police station with her dog, and they let me out of the jail.
We spent a few more hours together. Then an officer came and said I wouldn't be released and he was calling the child's father to find a place for her. An hour later, it was around 7 p.m. my husband came to pick up my daughter. They drew up a detention and misdemeanor protocol on me. From 8 p.m. on 1 July until 2 a.m. on 2 July I was in jail. That's 18 hours. The monkey house is a stuffy cell 1.5 by 2.5 meters without a window, with a concrete slab instead of a bench, and it's locked from the outside. I did not eat for more than 30 hours and I did not drink water from the tap. The next day at 5 pm there was a court session via Skype under Article 3 24.23 at which the judge listened to a “witness” (a fake person who doesn't know me and hasn't seen me, he just learned my name and surname, so he perjured himself), me and a lawyer and fined me a maximum of 200 bbl. ($2,300) By the evening I was released. At the same time they didn't give me and my daughter our phones and a seizure report wasn't drawn up.
I couldn't go home, because during questioning they made it clear to me with hints and direct facts and by showing photographs that they had already gathered a lot of information about me. Given the pattern of repeated detentions in recent weeks, I decided to leave the country immediately. An hour later that day my relatives called and asked me to tell them to go back to the police department for the phones. My friends and relatives hired a lawyer for me and he continued to work on my case when I was already gone. We appealed against the court's decision, but the subsequent court did not change the decision.
Later I found out that they came to my friends and acquaintances with searches and interrogations about me. Signatures were taken from all of them. I wanted and was going to meet the victory in my country, in the city where I was born. I had no thought of moving anywhere. I was not prepared for that decision, but out of the options of going to prison or running away, I chose freedom, in a friendly land, but still a foreign land. I live with my two children. I help out with a room in a rented apartment for newly arrived relocates for the first time.
My heart is in Belarus.
How much is needed?
1080 € — all the money went to pay the fine, now you need for rent and accommodation.