Financial assistance for Belarusian activist who fled to Lithuania from criminal prosecution

  • Story

Hello!
My name is Tatiana Petrukovich. Since 2020 I have been resisting the regime as best I could, not giving up to the last, but now I have to ask you for help! I found myself in Lithuania literally empty-handed with no documents and everything I had at home.  

My story began with the 2020 election campaign. I signed up in Victor Babariko's initiative group, collected signatures in his support. On August 9, 2020, as soon as the polling stations closed and it became clear that the elections were rigged, I went to a rally. Since then, I haven't missed a single march (women's marches, pensioners' marches, Sunday marches, yard marches). I couldn't stay away from what was going on! Because of my activism, I have been detained five times in those four years! 

The first time I was detained in September for participating in the women's march on Freedom Square. I got off with a fine, but I was shocked to the core by the so-called “trial”. The lawlessness and impudence of the “trial” made me angry and furious, which words cannot express! I decided that I had no right to be afraid, to stop. I sewed flags, printed bchb stickers, applied bchb symbols in public places, and for a long time provided financial and material assistance to victims of repression (donated through BYSOL and participated in collections among my friends and acquaintances). 

I was detained for the second time in November 2020 on spurious charges. I received a total of 22 days of detention in Baranavichy IVS. 

In January 2021, a small group of our yard activists marched in the evening on Pritytskyi Street. The result was the third detention and 25 days in Zhodzina temporary detention center. 

The fourth detention took place on June 24, 2021, when I came to the trial of Viktor Dmitrievich Babariko. I foolishly failed to check my belongings before the trial, and they found bchb stickers in my bag. I was convicted under Article 19.1 (Article 19.1 of the Administrative Code — petty hooliganism) for 15 days, which I served in the Central Institute on Okrestina. 

The fifth detention happened on October 27, 2023. They came to me with a search at 4 o'clock in the morning. They were looking for a can of paint, as insulting inscriptions against Lukashenka had appeared in the entrance of our house. They didn't find the paint. But they found money and stole it. The search took place without witnesses and without drawing up a report. They took a system block and a phone. They checked the phone and found subscriptions to “extremist” channels and reposts. They imposed 40 days for everything.

After that, without releasing me, I was immediately detained for another 3 days in a criminal case under Article 361-2 (Article 361-2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus — financing extremist activities) for donating money during the marathon “We Care” to help political prisoners. After that I was put under house arrest for two months, but the prosecutor ordered the investigator to toughen the article. As a result, my house arrest (and together with it the investigation) was extended for another month, and as a result I was toughened the old article by p.2 (p.2 of Article 361-2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus — financing extremist activities by a group of persons), because I sent the donation through my acquaintance in Lithuania. 

This was the last straw, and I decided to evacuate. The criminal article for donation by a group of persons promised me 5 to 8 years in prison. My passport from the Investigative Committee was not returned to me, so I had to cross the Lithuanian border illegally. Without documents and with a minimum of money, I crossed the border and applied for political asylum. I abandoned everything I had: my apartment, all my belongings and left with only one backpack. 

The joy that I had been saved from prison was replaced by fear of tomorrow. In a foreign country without money and things, I don't know what will happen to me tomorrow. I ask for your help and hope that our solidarity from 2020 has not gone anywhere! I would like to find a place to live and restore a little bit of my health, which has been shaken by the regime. As soon as I get legal status, I want to register for self-employment and start all over again.    

How much is needed?

€3000

€600 — sewing machine (Overlock Juki MO-654DEN)
€300 — food for three months
€300 — clothes
€1800 — rent for three months (approximately €500 per month + utilities)

Сollected:
€ 3 207 in 3 000