Helping a former political prisoner in the Zeltzer case get settled in a new country

  • Story

Hello. My name is Vladimir [name changed for security reasons, BYSOL Foundation has all supporting documents]. I am a former political prisoner.

At night in September 2021, KGB officers broke into my apartment. There was a search. My wife and two small children were driven to hysterics. At that moment I was at work, where I was detained half an hour after the search started.

First I was brought to the KGB department and charged under articles 369 (insulting a representative of the authorities) and 130 (incitement of racial, national, religious or other social enmity) of the Criminal Code. The reason was a comment in which I resented the unprofessionalism of the KGB officers.

Then I was taken to the temporary detention center in Akrestsin, and five days later I was sent to prison No. 8 in Zhodzina together with other detainees in the Zeltser case.

In the prison we were kept for two months in quarantine in terrible conditions — we were kept without parcels, without letters and without meetings with lawyers, in small cells of 25-30 people. We slept with the light on, three times a night there were rises and checks, cold showers once a week, lack of normal food and medical care (we all had COVID-19).

Then there was a trial. I was given 2 years in a general regime penal colony and 50 basic units of fine. I was also put on the list of extremists and terrorists. Therefore, all my property was arrested (bank account, apartment, car and even my phone number). My family got into huge debts because my spouse was on maternity leave.

Because I was “political”, I was often sent to a punishment cell, where it was very cold. During the month I spent there, I lost 12 kilograms. I also got bronchitis.

Recently, having served my sentence in full, I was released. I was registered at the police department, where I had to check in several times a month. Also the police came to my house all the time. But they still did not give me a chance for a normal life, because I was labeled a terrorist and extremist, which meant that it was almost impossible for me to find a job.

I was forced to leave the country. Now I am in Poland and preparing to meet my family. I ask Belarusians to help me start a new life.

How much is needed?

€2900 Rent for 2 months, repayment of family debts, legal services and doctor's consultations.

The collection is over. Сollected:
€ 668
The collection is over. Сollected: € 668