Helping the large family of activist and Christian preacher Sergiy Melianets to settle down in Poland

  • Story

My name is Sergius Melianets. Christian, poet, bard, preacher, elder in the church. Married. Seven children.
 
The first time I was seized in the evening of August 10, 2020 in the center of Minsk, where I came with two siblings to pray for Belarus. I was beaten with batons and fists, tortured with a stun gun, swore at and threatened with death. In the garage on the territory of Leninski police department I felt bad with my heart, so the ambulance was allowed to take me to the hospital. There I was pumped up and sent home at night.
 
And on December 15, 2020 a district militiaman came to our house and drew up a protocol for white-red-white blinds. Because of this protocol we had 2 court hearings and a fine of 30 basic. Then an appeal, a second appeal to the Supreme Court, transferring the case to the enforcement department, blocking the card and account, writing off the money, submitting documents to the Human Rights Committee in Europe — the decision is about to be ready.
 
At the same time, the authorities pressurized us through the children. A paper was written to colleges and schools with a request to conduct “preventive measures” with my family, because of which the children had to go to talks with ideologists and psychologists, and my wife and I had to collect characteristics and papers to confirm the well-being of our family.
 
In addition, there were other episodes of persecution of me and my family (for example, in March 2023 — I was interrogated on a lie detector in the KGB).

And on March 19, 2024, I went to the trial of Catholic journalist Igor Kornei to support and pray for him, as well as to find out the news — what he was charged with and what term the prosecutor demanded.
 
After being at the court session for half an hour, I left the courtroom and was seized at 10:30 by the GUBOPIK officers and handcuffed. I was taken to the police department of Frunzenski district of Minsk, where they drew up a protocol (Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Belarus — violation of the order of organizing or holding mass events). In the process of drawing up the protocol I was threatened with torture. They took away my cell phone (it was not returned) and passport. 300 rubles disappeared from my wallet. Then I was placed in a crowded “monkey house” (a windowless cell 2 by 2 meters) until evening.
 
In the evening they took me to the TDF on Okrestina, where I spent the night, and in the morning the judge sentenced me to thirteen days via Skype. I served them in the TDF on Okrestina.
 
The conditions there are difficult for “controllers” (as they call us): in a small four-bed cell number twenty there were constantly from 16 to 19 people (always one or two homeless people). Bedbugs, lack of normal sleep, etc. Each day of stay there costs 20 rubles. As a result, I had to pay about 500 rubles.
 
Twice I was taken for interrogation to a KGB officer who threatened me with a huge term of imprisonment or execution. He promised to put my wife in jail and to give my children to a boarding school (if two parents are not with their children for more than 10 days, they are removed from the family). 

In spite of this, I did my best to keep my spirits up and to encourage those around me: every day I would turn on the “religious channel” in the cell and tell people stories from the Bible. The corridor guards, who checked on us every fifteen minutes, would linger at the cell door and listen to the stories. People often asked that I pray for them personally.
 
On the morning of April 1, my first term ended. I was handcuffed at the exit from the CIP and put in the car on my stomach — facing the floor. They drove me around Minsk for two hours. They threatened me. Then they took me to the same police station and drew up a new report for foul language and inadequate behavior (Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Belarus — petty hooliganism). For not wanting to sign it, the police officer kicked me from behind.
 
Then two days in the temporary detention center, a day in the “monkey house”, again in the temporary detention center and only on Thursday, April 4, the online judge sentenced me to 12 days. I did not agree with the protocol. Immediately after the “trial” the same police officer who had detained me came to the “monkey house”, handcuffed me, took me to an empty office and beat me.
 
In the evening I was taken to the TsIP Okrestin and after waiting outside in the cold for several hours and a humiliating inspection procedure (the guard made me squat thirty times naked), I was again placed in cell number twenty. There I sat until April 13.

During this time my house was searched. My wife was interrogated twice by KGB officers. Her cell phone was taken away (never given back). They wanted to start a criminal case for the photos from the 2020 protests. Thank God that the threats remained only threats — my wife was not thrown in jail. They didn't have time.
 
Miraculously, on Saturday, April 13, after the end of my second term, I was released. In my bag was my passport, which had been taken away at the very beginning. I was forced with my wife and 7 children to urgently evacuate the country.
 
We are now looking for a new place to live and would appreciate any help.

How much is needed?

€15000
 
Our family is 9 people. That's why the amount is so high. Since we did not intend to leave Belarus, we have to make plans on the fly. We are thinking of going to Poland and establishing our life there.
 
We need:
€3000 — airplane tickets to Warsaw
€3500 — groceries for the family for six months
€6000 — rent for our big family for 6 months (€1000 per month).
€2500 — clothes for 7 children, dishes, transportation costs, cell phone services, etc.

Сollected:
€ 15 287 in 15 000