Sergei Gurlo, 58, is the leader of the Bobruisk organization of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union and a former employee of Belshina. Sergey had worked at the company for 35 years, retired at 50 because of the harmful production and difficult working conditions, but still continued to work.
When political persecution started, Sergei had to quit his job. In May 2021 Babruisk district court found the trade union leader guilty of insulting two policemen (he left comments in social networks). The man was given a year and a half of house arrest (Article 369 of the Criminal Code Insulting a representative of the authorities) and was ordered to pay moral damages to the victims in the amount of 2000 Belarusian rubles. The trial was held behind closed doors. Sergei Gurlo pleaded not guilty.
After August 2020, the man was detained three times and brought to administrative responsibility for participation in mass rallies, was in jail. In early 2022, another criminal case was filed against him and he was given 15 days in jail for commenting and liking a media article deemed extremist. He was offered to record a "confessionary video" to mitigate the "punishment," but Sergei refused.
For 24 hours, the man kept a hunger strike. After his release, he realized the urgent need to evacuate from Belarus and, with the help of BYSOL, he flew to Georgia.
Commenting on his condition, Siarhei says: "It's very stressful to flee from your home country at your old age; I wouldn't wish it on anyone. My wife, children, granddaughters are at home. Now they are also under pressure: they call me, asking where I am and what I am, threatening to search me. My condition is depressive, to be honest. I do not know what to do next. I am hanging on. I was not going to leave my hometown, I wanted to finish my "home chemistry", but I found myself in the center of attention of the regime again. There are no jobs in Georgia in my specialty. I am waiting for the season, maybe something will turn up. I am actively looking for options. Prices for food and shelter are rising every week. I am running out of money. I wanted to make a humanitarian visa to Poland to go to work, but they temporarily suspended the acceptance of documents. I have to somehow get through a couple of months and decide how to live further. I left my pension card to my wife, she works as a cleaner, her salary is very modest, and she feels really bad without my support.
While in Belarus Siarhei did his best to have justice in his home country and to appreciate every person. Now we can support Sergei, who was forced to leave the country because of the political pressure exerted on him.
How much is needed?
1000€ — the cost of renting a place to live for three months; to buy food and medicine.