Help for the Kostyuchenko family, who were forced to leave Belarus because of political pressure

  • Story

My name is Kostyuchenko Victoria. In August of 2020, like many others, I went out to protest, one of the actions was held near Vygotsky Teachers' College and was called “Teachers Against Violence”. The head teacher of the college (Viktor Viktorovich Filipenko) was inside the building at that moment and took pictures of all those who came to the rally. The photos of the participants were sent to the Main Board of Education of Gomel Regional Executive Committee. 

I was at the funeral of Aliaksandr Vikhor. Belsat correspondent, during a live broadcast, asked questions to those who came to the funeral, including me. I spoke out about the inadmissibility of what was happening. 

When we went to the square on August 16, there was a video shooting, and on the screensaver of TG “Flagpole — Homelshchyna” there was a video with my participation. All these cases were reported to the director of the college Kazimirova Iryna Romanovna. At the end of August she called me and started asking when I was going to work. The subtext of the conversation I understood between the lines: “I know all about you and I'm watching you.” Other college colleagues also told me that I was being watched, warning me to “Be careful.” At the end of November I was summoned to her office by Kazimirova I.R. The essence of the conversation was that the group in which I was a curator — refused to give money for newspaper subscriptions, including me (I have a recording of the conversation, I would very much like to distribute and publish it). I was told that people in uniform would deal with me. 

On May 7th , the police came to me and found the record in the TG “Punishers of Belarus” under the photo of police officer A.N. Zhevniak, which had been made on November 27th. I was a witness in the insult case; there is a search report and a report of computer seizure. On July 28th I was summoned to the IC and was charged as a suspect under article 369. On September 6, 2021, my phone was seized from me. On September 14, 2021, I was detained under Article 108 for three days. For three days they squeezed confessions out of me: a new cell every day, no mattress, a ban on warm clothes, not all permitted items were allowed to be transferred, lights were never turned off, a strict stay on the second tier of the bed, which had no wooden planks, just metal bars, a kind detective with a heart-to-heart talk, and an interrogation by an investigator after two days in the TDF. After the TDF they took me to the Investigative Committee and, in the absence of a lawyer, the investigator and the head of the Investigative Committee persuaded me to confess. This took three or four hours.

On October 26, 2021 at 6.40 a.m. 2 policemen from GUBOPIK and 2 OMON riot policemen burst into our house and brought a detention order under article 342 as the reason for the burst. But when I was taken to Dobrush district police department, it turned out that I was charged under the administrative article “Disobedience to police officers”. I had to serve 2 days in the TDF, but the administrative trial was held 2.5 days after my detention. My relatives were not allowed to hand over the parcels, referring to the CAVID. My relatives were also not told where I was during the first 24 hours.

On December 24, 2021 I was charged and the case was taken to court. My lawyer “advised” me to plead guilty: “We can't prove anything, at least we'll get a lesser sentence. On February 8, 2022 a court session was held and I was sentenced to 2 years of restricted freedom, 2,000 white rubles — moral compensation, and confiscation of my laptop and phone.

I am currently in Lithuania. I am waiting for refugee status. My son and husband left Belarus because of the risk of persecution. Now my son lives with me, he entered EHU in Lithuania. He studies for a fee. 

I'm a teacher with 30-year-old experience who lectured in schools, gymnasiums, the Institute of Education Development, the State State State University (part-time), a college. I won the Teacher of the year 2009 in Gomel district, was a super finalist of the National stage and got excellent marks in education. I have helped a lot of children to find their way to adulthood. Now I am asking you to help my child.

I left my house and everything I had, I live in Lithuania and have no right to work for half a year. Then there will be a confirmation of the specialty, but that is later. 

How much is needed?

1650 € — the amount for my son's education.

The collection is over. Сollected:
€ 83
The collection is over. Сollected: € 83