2021. január 28., csütörtök

Új fejlemények Belorussziában

2020. augusztus 19.

Új fejlemények Belorussziában

Legyen vége az állampolgárok bántalmazásának!

1

Új fejlemények Belorussziában

Augusztus 24-én különböző fehéroroszországi források megerősítették, hogy a Nobel-díjas írót, Szvetlana Alekszijevicset és a Nemzeti Színház igazgatóját, Pavel Latuskót kihallgatásra idézték be a Koordinációs Tanácsnak „a hatalom törvénytelen megragadására” irányuló kísérlete vádjával. Az Európai Írók Tanácsa azonnal tiltakozott – erről korábbi tudósításunk számol be.

Augusztus 26-án késő délután a Belorusz Írószövetség (UBW) tájékoztatása szerint Szvetlana Alekszijevicset kiengedték. Az UBW által eljuttatott nyilatkozatában, amelyet kihallgatása előtt tett, többek között ez olvasható:

„Nagyon hálás vagyok támogatásotokért, nagyon fontos, hogy támogassuk egymást. Teljesen nyugodtan megyek a kihallgatásra, nem érzem magam bűnösnek, törvényesnek érzek mindent, amit tettünk. Ha elkülönítenek és megosztanak bennünket, megállíthatatlanul polgárháborúba sodródunk, ez rendkívüli veszély.

(…)

Láthattátok, milyen gyönyörű mondatok hangoztak el a nyugati médiában. amelyek mintegy Belorusszia védjegyévé váltak. Másképpen szólva, a belorusz nép hirtelen példává emelkedett, akitől a világ tanult valamit: szeretik, hogy a füvet nem tapossák le, hogy egyetlen kirakat sem tört be, hogy az emberek nagyszerűek és gyönyörűen viselkednek.  Hogy mi egy új utat kínálunk, nem kell postahivatalokat és távírókat elfoglalnunk, mi a harc békés útját kínáljuk. Olyan idő ez, amikor az emberi élet igenis számít, és az ember megbecsüli az életét.

Együtt kell maradnunk, nem szabad feladnunk, Isten megóvja a vérünket, nem fog elfolyni, mert lélekben, meggyőződésünk erejével kell győznünk.”

Forrás: https://www.facebook.com/litbel/posts/1621796531315372

A továbbiakban az Európai Írók Tanácsa és a Belorusz Írószövetség közös híradását egészében közöljük angol nyelven.

 

2

To EWC Members

2nd Update 27/08/2020

The European Writers’ Council and its member organisations stand in solidarity with the Union of Belarusian Writers (UBW)

This is a follow up of the update of 24/08/2020.

On Monday 24 August, the EWC learned through various Belarusian media reporting independently of each other, about the summoning of the Nobel-prize awarded author Svetlana Alexievich and the director of the National Theater, Pavel Latushko, for an interrogation within the charge of “illegal grab for power” by the Coordinating Council. Immediately we took action with a renewed statemen  (http://europeanwriterscouncil.eu/ewc-statement-on-belarus-2408/)

– “The European Writers’ Council condemns the criminal case opened by Alexander Lukashenko against the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Svetlana Alexievich, and the Coordination Council in Belarus” – and informed our members as well as press and ally-partners of the publishing world around the globe.

On the late afternoon of 26 August, we received via the UBW the relief: Svetlana Alexievich was released. Read her statement, provided by the Union of Belarusian Writers:

Svetlana Aleksievich came from an interrogation in the committee of enquiry (on 26/8, 14:00 MSK). She refused to testify against herself and was released. Here is what she said before the interrogation:

“I want to say that I am very grateful for your support, it is very important, we have to support each other. I go [to the interrogation] completely calm, I don't feel guilty, I feel legitimised in everything we have done. Moreover, this is urgently needed today, because if we are separated and divided, we will definitely go to civil war, it is very dangerous.

Our goal was only to unite society, not a coup [not mentioned]. It is all a futile argument that all of us, 600 people [coordinating council members], have come together and done something with the people. It is the people who came to it, it happened in front of our eyes that the Belarusian nation, the Belarusian people want the change.

I think everyone is proud of their people today. And, frankly, we have not had this feeling lately, and today, when we see these thousand movements of people ... And you would see what beautiful phrases appeared in the western media as a trademark of Belarus. In other words, Belarusians suddenly became the people the whole world has learned from: they love that no lawn will remember, that no shop window has been broken, that people are so worthy, behave so beautifully. And that we are offering a new way, we don't have to occupy the post office and telegraph, we are offering a peaceful way to fight. A time when human life is worth living and a person values his life.

I think we must be together, we must not give in, God preserves blood from our part, it should not spill, we must win in spirit, by the strength of our convictions ".

Source: https://www.facebook.com/litbel/posts/1621796531315372

However, this is only a short relief. As long as the current President Lukashenko refuses to enter into peaceful dialogue with the democracy movement on an equal footing, and instead threatens, intimidates and even accuses it, our clear voices will still be needed.

We ask our EWC members to continue to do their utmost to support our colleagues and the entire Belarusian population in their quest for democracy.

On 25/26 August, several European and International networks joined the EWC solidarity movement; for example, the International Publishers Association (IPA) together with the FEP (Federation of European Publishers) with a joint statement referring to EWC; the New Zealand Society of Authors with bringing up this topic to their members; and the feature of the magazine Publishing Perspectives on Belarus and the EWC movement for solidarity and action. Also, the EIBF, the European and International Book-sellers Federation joined the EWC call to support Belarus and especially our EWC Member, the Union of Belarusian Writers. Several Collective Management Organisations and national publishers’ associations started to disseminate statements and press releases.

We recognised a growing press coverage. Our President has been featured in half a dozen live interviews. Nina George stayed in close contact with the German Börsenverein, who made its own strong statement of support to Belarus and Svetlana Alexievich, and brought up this topic in the most important German media, the ZDF TV and the weekly paper DIE ZEIT (The Times). All over the world, the summon of the Nobel laureate Alexievich provoked multi-scale reactions, press coverage and reports on Belarus. Together with the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Nina George also approached the Nobel Committee.

Cooperation and communication are key in this movement, and we all will need a long breath to keep it alive. Still, the communication is severely limited by Belarusian government control, by turning off the Internet and Wifi, so we are in fragile contact with our UBW colleagues in Minsk through various messenger services and the telephone network. But we can keep them informed daily about the actions and support of the EWC community and the public. Every report, every sign of solidarity is not only motivation and strengthening the morale of our colleagues; it also thwarts the intention of the current power holder Lukashenko to exclude the world audience and attention from the events in Belarus. Peaceful demonstrators are bludgeoned down, disappear in prisons, come out with severe injuries to body and soul. This has been shown by the first reports of the UBW to us, which can be downloaded here.

Here is the second overview since 24.08:

1-    Actions from EWC Members / Membership Candidates 2- updated Press Coverage of the UBW appeal and the EWC statement 3- Cultural and other Authors Organisations and Networks standing with Belarus and / or EWC and UBW 4- More voices from the writers’ and cultural workers scene in Belarus 5- Personalities supporting the Appeal and Movement for Belarus

1. Actions from EWC Members / Membership Candidates (since 24.8)

26.08. The Writers' Union of Iceland (RSÍ) stands in full solidarity with EWC member, the Union of Belarusian Writers. “The RSÍ agrees with the demands of Belarusian writers to end violence against peaceful protesters and to ensure that democratic elections are held in that country as a matter of urgency under international supervision. The Icelandic Writers' Union condemns all restrictions against the freedom of expression of artists and the public by violence or coercion of a political or economic nature.”

26.08. The Czech Writers' Union declared its full solidarity with EWC member, the Union of Belarusian Writers and its aims: " EWC Member, the Czech Writers’ Union Asociace_spisovatelů _support the colleagues in Belarus Саюз _беларускіхпісьменнікаў: “We want to give our full support to Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexiyevichová and also to the Union of Belarusian Writers, member of the European Writers' Council. The Belarusian government must stop violence against peaceful protests, establish an open dialogue with the opposition and prepare new elections that will be fair, free and transparent.”

26.08 The Danish Writers' Association Dansk Forfatterforening reacted on the accusations and the criminal case against Swetlana Alexievich and updated their statement from 23. and 25.8: “In Belarus, writer and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Aleksievich has been ordered for interrogation because she is part of a peaceful consensus for resistance in the country. The Danish Writers' Association Dansk Forfatterforening condemns this and the Belarusian regime's attempt to break the free cultural and political public sphere with violence and repression.” “In face of the threat to Alexeyevich, we in the Danish Writers' Association, if possible, take an even sharper distance from the Belarusian regime's attempt to break the free cultural and political public with violence and oppression."

25.08. The Hellenic Authors' Society of Greece expresses its solidarity to the Union of Belarusian Writers and the people of Belarus, and also to the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Svetlana Alexievich, in response to the appeal for international solidarity to stop violence directed against peaceful protesters and to hold free, fair and transparent new elections in Belarus. "In its statement, the European Writers' Council condemns the prosecution of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko against award-winning Svetlana Alexievich and the Belarusian Coordinating Council. As Alexievich said: "The state declared war on the people."

25.08. The Danish Writers’ Association Dansk Forfatterforening and its Chair Morten Visby made an official statement: “After receiving a shocking report from the Union of

Belarusian Writers (UBW) Саюз _беларускіх _пісьменнікаў, the Danish Writers' Association joins the European condemnation of the Belarusian government. (…) In light of the recent systematic violations of freedom of expression and other basic human rights in Belarus, the association's board has chosen to join the European Writers Council appeal for support for the struggle for democracy in the country. (…) From the Danish and European sides, there is every possible reason to support the democratic forces in Belarus. It is happening these days in the form of sanctions and active assistance, but it must also be done through continued civil awareness of the situation. The Danish Writers' Association would like to contribute to this together with our Nordic and European and sister organizations.

https://danskforfatterforening.dk/blog/demokrati-og-ytringsfrihed-i-hviderusland/?fbclid=IwAR1XiCi2_zlMZgq_-xMoCVT-HSUcFnoYRjRlVOU4kXlb_MzA9XPqpUBXZEo

2-    Press Coverage of the UBW appeal and the EWC statement(s)

26.08. Publishing Perspectives: Belarus Crisis: IPA and Publishers Federation Join With the European Writers’ Council – With the Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich declining to testify before the State Investigative Committee, the Union of Belarusian Writers asks for international support. By Porter Anderson, Editor in Chief.

26.08. Radio Bremen Zwei: “After the presumably rigged election in Belarus and President Lukashenko’s crackdown on opposition figures, international support for the democracy movement is strong. One of the driving forces is the German writer Nina George. As President of the European Writers’ Council, she is committed to a peaceful solution to the conflict and an end to the persecution of opposition figures in Belarus. This afternoon, the Belarusian Nobel laureate in literature, Svetlana Alexievich, is due to be interrogated. A conversation with Nina George.”

26.08. Actualitté: “Biélorussie : l'édition internationale appelle à l'arrêt de la “répression”. Il y a quelques jours, la Fédération des associations européennes d'écrivains (European Writers' Council, EWC) dénonçait « des cas de violences policières et sur des traitements inhumains dans les prisons, de la torture psychologique, des sévices physiques et des viols ». Deux organisations d'éditeurs, la Fédération des Éditeurs Européens (FEE/FEP) et l'Union Internationale des Éditeurs (UIE/IPA), se joignent désormais à l'appel des auteurs.

26.08 rbb Kulturradio: Our President Nina George is in daily contact with EWC member, the Union of Belarusian Writers, and can thus quickly make news from Minsk available to the public. On Monday it was announced that Nobel Prize winner for literature Svetlana Alexievich has been summoned for interrogation today because of her membership of the Coordinating Council. The accusation against the Council: illegal grab for power. On 26 August, George spoke on rbb Kulturradio about the background and again called on the public to support Belarus and to report on the state of repression. "Because if we look the other way, it plays into the hands of all dictators in the world. We should not do them this favour".

25.08. Deutschlandradio Kultur - Kultur heute (Culture today on German Radio): EWC President Nina George reported about the situation for nobelprize-awarded author, Svetlana Alexievich, Member of the Union of Belarusian Writers. To the feature (minute 21:00, in German)

25.08. German Journal for Booksellers and Publishers, Börsenblatt on the EWC statement and background: "It was with great dismay that we learned yesterday from our member, the Union of Belarusian Writers (UBW), about the summoning of its member, Nobel Prize winner for literature Svetlana Alexievich, for interrogation tomorrow Wednesday afternoon,” said Nina George, President of the EWC. Svetlana Alexievich and about 70 other members of the opposition's "Coordinating Council" are accused by Lukashenko's government of "illegal attempts to grab power". The Attorney General has already filed charges, and two members of the council have already been arrested, as the BBC has confirmed. Five years in prison are threatening. To the article (in German)

3-    Cultural and other Authors Organisations and Networks standing with Belarus and / or EWC and UBW

26.08. The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) joint officially the EWC movement for solidarity for Belarus, and EWC received endorsements by FERA and ECSA, and from some MEPs identified as members of the DROI Committee for Human Rights.

26.08. The European and International Booksellers Federation EIBF @Booksellers_Fed supports @CouncilWriters and their members in Belarus in condemning the ongoing situation in the country. Freedom of speech is an integral human right, underpinned by the rule of law and democratic process.”

26.08. The International Publishers Association (IPA) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) call on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to cease his brutal campaign of violence and intimidation against peaceful protests. The IPA and FEP call on the international publishers of Nobel Literature Prize laureate, Svetlana Alexievich, to demonstrate their support for the author as she faces interrogation at the hands of the Lukashenko regime. (…) Now they have accused Svetlana Alexievich of being part of an ‘illegal power grab’ and have threatened her with prosecution and jail. The IPA and FEP call on the Belarusian government to drop all such charges immediately as a first step in paving the way for free, democratic processes to unfold. IPA and the FEP stand behind the statement issued on 24 August by the European Writers’ Council.” To the full joint statement.

26.08. The Greek Collective Management Organisation OSDEL joined the support for Belarus by the Hellenic Authors Society and the EWC.

25.08. The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels – German Association of Booksellers and Publishers joins the solidarity-movement of EWC: “Alarming conditions in Belarus: German Booksellers and Publishers' Association Börsenverein condemns call of Peace-Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich for interrogation. The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels is deeply shocked by the massive violation of human rights and freedom in Belarus. Alexander Skipis, managing director of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels: "We are deeply dismayed by the massive violation of human rights and freedom in Belarus. Critical voices like Peace Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich are in serious danger. We appeal to the government in Belarus to consistently grant its citizens freedom of opinion and not to restrict their civil rights. We give our full support to all those in Belarus who are struggling for democracy and freedom of expression. Svetlana Alexievich and many other defendants defend their right to speak out for a democratic Belarus. We must not resign ourselves now - it is our duty to work to protect this fundamental right! As a sign of this clear position, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels joins the solidarity movement of the European Writers' Council for Belarus.” To the statement (in German)

25.08 The German Pen Center protests against the summoning of Nobel Prize winner for literature Svetlana Alexievich for interrogation tomorrow Wednesday afternoon. The accusation levelled at her and the approximately 70 members of the “Coordinating Council” founded by the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya by the still-presidential Lukashenko government is, among other things, an illegal attempt to seize power. This offence of a “coup d'état” is threatened with five years in prison inBelarus; the attorney general has already filed a complaint, and two members of the council have been arrested, as the BBC, among others, has confirmed.

25.08. The “Peace Prize of the German Book Trade” joint our statement and defend their 2013-laureate, Svetlana Alexievich. https://bit.ly/3hqP7nm

25.08. A social media project called “Stimmen aus Belarus” (Voices from Belarus) is launched. Five independent young translators organize the translations into German of quotes and voices from people, artists, creators and authors from Belarus:

https://www.facebook.com/Belarusstimmen/

++ Archive: Update from 24/08/2020 ++

On Monday, August 17, together with the Union of Belarusian Writers, the EWC Board published a statement 1http://europeanwriterscouncil.eu/ewc-statement-on-belarus/   and an appeal 2http://europeanwriterscouncil.eu/union-of-belarusian-writers-appeal/   by our EWC member UBW, together with a file “Voices from Belarus” http://europeanwriterscouncil.eu/voices-from-belarus/ , which documented the violation of human and democratic rights in the prisons of Minsk. On August 18th, the EWC urged the 56 members of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the European Parliament to support Belarus in its fight for democracy and freedom of expression.

The UBW had, in the course of the suspected election rigging and the subsequent violently suppressed peaceful demonstrations against the result, publicly pleaded for new, fair elections under international observation, and for the release of the demonstrators and political prisoners. Together with the UBW, the EWC appealed to the public and EU politicians not to stand by in silence - but to stand up for the people of Belarus in order to protect human rights and to enforce democratic co-determination. Many EWC member organisations as well as other cultural and human rights organisations (PEN International, FEP, FERA, EFJ) joined in. During the week, the topic had an increased press coverage and letters towards the EU Foreign Ministers. We are deeply thankful for this action of solidarity by the EWC member organisations, in support of the Union of Belarusian Writers.

On Thursday, 20th August, we learned, that the Belarusian chief prosecutor has filed a suit against the Coordinating Council in Belarus, with the threat of imprisonment for up to five years. The Council also includes Nobel Prize winner for literature Svetlana Alexievich, a member of the Union of Belarusian Writers. We condemn this outrageous threat against a writer and against democratic participation.

We would like to emphasise that it is immensely important for our colleagues in Belarus that the public is informed about what is happening - because since the presidential elections, the Internet and other external channels have been continuously blocked. The Union of Belarusian Writers, invoking the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calls on all literary organizations, journalists and other cultural figures to express their solidarity with the people of Belarus.

Here is an overview of the past week (17.8-24.8):

1-    Actions from EWC Members / Membership Candidates 2- Press Coverage of the UBW appeal and the EWC statement 3- Cultural and other Authors Organisations and Networks standing with Belarus and / or EWC and UBW 4- More voices from the writers’ and cultural workers scene in Belarus 5- Personalities supporting the Appeal and Movement for Belarus

1. Actions from EWC Members / Membership Candidates

24.08. German Writers’ Union and PEN Center Germany unite in solidarity with Belarus and the Appeal by the Union of Belarusian Writers (UBW). “We show solidarity with the democracy movement in Belarus and call on Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, to stop the criminal proceedings against the Coordination Council of the Opposition and to hold talks with the democracy movement in order to facilitate a peaceful change of power. (...) We support the call of the Union of Writers of Belarus (UBW) to stop violence against peaceful protests and hold free, fair and transparent elections in Belarus.” https://bit.ly/31n7svT

20.08. The Society of Hungarian Authors Szépírók Társasága supports the EWC Call to stand with Belarus and the Саюз _беларускіх _пісьменнікаў _/ Union of Belarusian Writers. The Society of Hungarian Authors wrote an Open Letter to the Foreign Minister of Hungary – “We call on the Foreign Minister to publicly condemn the violence against citizens in Belarus and to provide direct and concrete assistance to Belarusian citizens who are threatened and harassed, including in cooperation with the Belarusian Writers' Union.” https://litera.hu/hirek/szepirok-tarsasaga-es-europai-irok-tanacsa-szolidaritasa-a-belorusztuntetesek-aldozataival.html?fbclid=IwAR18cjDXoo-432KF5YcfUkRkdXpAGYGa-k7TrygMPxUPHQ-rzrMu7hp9Jk

19.08. The five Norwegian Authors’ Associations joined forces: “Norwegian writers and translators are deeply concerned about the situation in Belarus. Our Belarusian colleagues have for a long time had great challenges in expressing themselves freely, and we are very concerned about the dramatic development after the manipulated election on 9 August. We strongly protest that journalists are threatened, attacked and arrested, that online newspapers are blocked and that citizens do not have free access to information, and express our full support for the Belarusian people in general and for our fellow writers in particular. A united stand of writers and translators endorses the peaceful demonstrations, demands free and fair elections and promotes the importance of full freedom of expression in Belarus.”

Norsk Oversetterforening - Den norske Forfatterforening – Forfatterforbundet - Norske Barne- og Ungdomsbokforfattere - Norsk faglitterær forfatter- og oversetterforening – NFFO. https://www.forfatterforeningen.no/artikkel/opprop-til-stotte-ytringsfrihet-og-demokrati-ihviterussland?fbclid=IwAR3io2PuwKIdWcqUD2j5CIbQeroB_6e4YGUDpvv_3rv266URyAUwb0UL4s

18.08. The DAS SYNDIKAT (Association of German Language Crime Writers) supports in full the declaration of EWC and the call on solidarity with the UBW. https://bit.ly/3gkQ53

17.08. “The ACE / Asociación Colegial de Escritores responding to the call of the European Writers' Council (EWC), the organisation to which ACE is member, strongly supports the Belarusian Writers' Union Саюз _беларускіх _пісьменнікаў _in its defense of human rights and freedom in its country and, in particular, of freedom of expression and against the government's repressive measures against the population.”

https://bit.ly/3aLBA7m

Several EWC Members and Organisations shared the appeal and addressed it widely via social media. Thank you for your most important support and solidarity!

(Please keep us informed, if you have or plan a supportive action, statement or declaration of solidarity. Plase tagg the UBW on Facebook, to let them know the support is going on: https://www.facebook.com/litbel/ )

2. Press Coverage of the UBW appeal and the EWC statement

21.08. Publishing Perspectives

“Belarus Crisis Prompt Alarm from European Writers’ Council, PEN International”

https://publishingperspectives.com/2020/08/european-writers-council-pen-international-raise-alarms-about-belarusprotests-covid19/

19.08. M – Menschen Machen Medien

“In a letter, ver.di – largest union of freelance and employed cultural and media workers in Germany – calls on Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to give the escalated situation in Belarus "an even higher priority in Germany's international engagement. And the European Writers'

Council’s calls for solidarity.” https://mmm.verdi.de/internationales/staerkeres-engagement-in-belarus-gefordert-

67891?fbclid=IwAR2qO3TwKhn1SjWb9-L7DWQafEM4E0sKD2o7VuLmxyJAXfL-5yEvjjWCzoM

19.08. HR2 – Radio

“No other choice? - The future of Belarus” – One-hour-Radio feature on the situation of writers and the cultural scene in Belarus, including a live interview with EWC President Nina George.

https://www.hr2.de/podcasts/der-tag/keine-andere-wahl--die-zukunft-von-belarus,podcast-episode74330.html?fbclid=IwAR2-K9USmGPH0mrprHnLhYO_v-yQYSwUA6odp7DV7WOoYLfr3W4tovQDoIw

18.08. Actualitteée

« Biélorussie : les écrivains européens appellent l'Union européenne à réagir. La Fédération des associations européennes d'écrivains (European Writers' Council, EWC) se joint aux avertissements portant sur la situation en Biélorussie : dans un communiqué, l'organisation déplore « la violente et systématique répression des manifestations contestant les résultats des élections et le pouvoir autocrate du président de la Biélorussie ».

https://www.actualitte.com/article/monde-edition/bielorussie-les-ecrivains-europeens-appellent-l-union-europeenne-areagir/102251?fbclid=IwAR2im1SyGQlWdierDkaEBJFKoiJPx99bM0XSqe1iefQRsAbthJdpLTZKa0c

18.08. Börsenblatt / Publishers Weekly of Germany

“In a statement, the European Writers' Council calls on the European Union to exert pressure on Belarus' autocratic regime. The Writers' Council also expresses its solidarity with the Union of

Belarusian Writers (UBW).” https://www.boersenblatt.net/news/literaturszene/european-writers-council-verurteiltdie-ereignisse-belarus-114205?fbclid=IwAR36Cc6Z945AMloOM_AyyXT7rLNiJLgO4q7cIE3ly3CIxpBbmPnSFbx5YbY

18.08. Autorenwelt

“Der European Writers‘ Council (EWC) ist zutiefst alarmiert über die gewaltsame und systematische Unterdrückung friedlicher Proteste in Belarus und unterstützt den Appell seiner Mitgliedsorganisation, des Verbands der belarussischen Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller (UBW).“ (including a German translation of the UBW appeal and EWC statement). https://www.autorenwelt.de/blog/branchen-news/ewc-unterstuetzt-appell-des-belarussischenschriftstellerverbandes?fbclid=IwAR3R41qdudswaLc6oCDnlUNeIv0LYvuDPETSfmBPqOCkwja-mdqhEt1xasQ

17.08. VOXEUROPE

“Speak out in solidarity with the people of Belarus! – The Union of Belarusian writers appeals for international solidarity to stop violence directed against peaceful protesters and to hold new free, fair and transparent elections in Belarus.”

https://voxeurop.eu/en/speak-out-in-solidarity-with-the-people-of-belarus/

3. Cultural and other Authors Organisations and Networks standing with Belarus and / or EWC and UBW

20.08. Polish Intellectuals (Writers, Publishers, professors, cultural personalities) signed an Open Letter, “To the participants of the protests in Belarus! For several weeks now we have been observing the development of events in Belarus with hope and anxiety. We admire the persistence and courage of the protesters against disregarding the will expressed by the voters.” https://bit.ly/34u0gAp

20.08. Appeal of Polish filmmakers to support Belarus

http://pnf.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Białoruś PL_wersja-z-nazwiskami.jpg?fbclid=IwAR1h0m_MksjggfduZ5VSzS9-c-AZP3iuc7sLwwGAhRldhc7aP-PFiipMFg

19.08. 22 European film bodies have issued an appeal in support of the people of Belarus. Organisations including the European Film Academy, the European Producers Club, the Accademia del Cinema Italiano, the Federation of European Film Directors, and Co-Member with EWC in the Authors’ Group, FERA, have co-signed the letter.

https://www.screendaily.com/news/european-film-bodies-unite-in-support-of-belarusdemonstrations/5152428.article?adredir=1&fbclid=IwAR0n_vKAOS5wJka9P1ERpPEFABWCP4JSoovaun_l_ZizFce52Msaq5mQ3s

19.08. Reporters without Borders / reporters sans frontières

“Ahead of the EU's special summit on Belarus today, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is renewing calls for sanctions against those responsible for violence against journalists.” https://www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de/pressemitteilungen/meldung/gewalt-gegen-medienschaffendebestrafen?fbclid=IwAR2taaVuYP5Tar_zptYvpfy0HXFc3KUQvSPC6_ySxe_2c7OKCKEFeZcEpLY

19.08. PEN Germany welcomes democracy movement: The German PEN Centre is appalled by the brutal violence with which President Lukashenko is reacting in Belarus to the peaceful protests against his re-election. https://www.boersenblatt.net/news/literaturszene/pen-begruesstdemokratiebewegung-114369?fbclid=IwAR226ue7It6SOchHliFzI0iXkajb4jygFuTy2065ai2Fccy07mxsVsXeqVA

18.08. PEN International, FEP (Federation of European Publishers) and EFJ (European Federation of Journalists) supported widely via social media the EWC statement and the UBW appeal. https://twitter.com/CouncilWriters/with_replies

17.08. Baltic Writers and Translators’ Council, “We condemn the illegitimate elections, violations of the freedom of speech and human rights in Belarus, the state's violence against its own peaceful citizens in the streets of Belarus and in detention centres.” https://bit.ly/31h3cyc

4. More voices from the writers’ and cultural workers scene in Belarus

Open Letter of Artists and Authors https://www.e-flux.com/announcements/343410/open-letter-of-belarusiancultural-workers/

5. Personalities supporting the Appeal and Movement for Belarus

Helga Trüpel (former MEP), Sergey Lagodinsky (MEP), Erhard Grundl (German Minister), Heiko Maas (Foreign Minister Germany), Nora-Eugenie Gomringer (Director ArtistResidency Villa Concordia, Poet), Regula Venske (President PEN Germany, Novelist), Vladimir Kaminer (Award-winning Novelist).

3.

Külügyminisztériumi tájékoztatás

Augusztus 19-én a Szépírók Társasága Nyílt levelet intézett Szijjártó Péter külügyminiszterhez, amelyben arra kértük, hogy tegyen meg minden lehetségest az elcsalt választást követően gyülekezési és véleménynyilvánítási jogával élő belorusz népet zaklató állami erőszak ellen. A levél honlapunkon olvasható, a sajtó számos helyen közzétette.

Az ünnepek után Baranyi András, a Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium helyettes államtitkára telefonon tájékoztatott a magyar külügy álláspontjáról, amely – mint mondta – teljes összhangban áll az Európai Unió közös véleményével, amely a tüntetők ellen alkalmazott módszereket elítéli, és különböző szankciókat hoz, illetve helyez kilátásba. Kiemelte, hogy a V4 keretében is összehangolják intézkedéseiket a külügyminiszterek, továbbá mind az EU, mind a V4-ek elsősorban a térségben különleges tapasztalatokkal rendelkező Lengyelország vezető szerepét tartják fontosnak a belorusz vonatkozású külügyi politika tekintetében.

Az államtitkár tájékoztatása korrekt és megnyugtató volt abban a vonatkozásban is, hogy természetszerűen az európai alapértékek nem képezhetik vita tárgyát a fehérorosz nép alapvető jogait illetően, és minden politikai lépés előtt a legfőbb mércét az jelenti, mi szolgálja az ő érdeküket. Felvetésemre, hogy a hivatalos külügyi kapcsolatokon túl a fél- vagy informális kapcsolatokat is jó lenne latba vetni a jogaikat gyakorló tüntetők védelmében, közölte, hogy ez a lehetőség is mindenkor fennáll, és a külügyi háttérmunka részét képezi.

A tájékoztatást a Szépírók Társasága nevében köszönettel tudomásul vettem.

Szkárosi Endre

4.

Állítsák le a belorusz társadalom megosztására tett kísérleteket!

A Belorusz Írószövetség és a Haza polgári társadalmi szervezet közös állásfoglalása

Újabban egyre többet halljuk a legmagasabb szintű belorusz hatóságoktól, hogy az ebben az évben a szabad választásokért folytatott békés tiltakozó akciók megfélemlítő módon használják a fehér-piros-fehér zászlót. A vád a beloruszizáció (fehéroroszosítás), vagyis az oroszajkú lakosság beolvasztása. A hatóságok így akarják elvonni a figyelmet a fennálló problémákról, és leszerelni az állampolgároknak a tisztességes és átlátható új elnökválasztásra és a saját népük ellen alkalmazott erőszakban bűnösek elszámoltathatóságára irányuló követelését.

Minél gyakrabban hangzanak el ilyen kijelentések, annál inkább nyilvánvaló, hogy a hatóságok a belorusz társadalom megosztására irányuló propagandát fejtenek ki – akárcsak az újabban Ukrajnában történt. A hamis információk kiötlésével és terjesztésével a hatóságok az ellenségesség magvát kívánják elvetni a békés tüntetők között, mindenekelőtt pedig azt akarják a külső megfigyelőkkel, elsősorban is az oroszokkal elhitetni, hogy Fehéroroszország kénytelen aktívan beavatkozni a saját belügyeibe, beleértve a belbiztonsági szerveket, beleértve a hadsereget.

Meg vagyunk győződve arról, hogy Belorusszia nemzeti szimbólumai, a fehér-piros-fehér zászló és a „pahonia”, a nemzeti címer részét fogják képezni a történelmi és kulturális értékek sorának, és a társadalmat csakis egységében és szilárdságában szolgálják, ahogyan azt a békés tüntetések mutatják, amint azt réges-régi tüntetéseink is mutatták –e jelképeket a tüntetők valamennyi nemzedéke állhatatosan védi és aktívan használja.

A belorusz nyelv csakis az egység célját szolgálja, és a belorusz nemzet és nép eltagadhatatlan értékét képezi.

Mi, a Belorusz Írószövetség és a Belorusz „Haza” Világszövetsége követeljük, hogy állítsanak le minden kísérletet, amely a belorusz társadalom megosztására irányul. Meggyőződésünk, hogy a belorusz nép értékeinek effajta manipulációja káros a más államokkal fenntartott kapcsolatokra nézve, sérti a közöttük fennálló kapcsolatokat is, és országunk szuverenitását is fenyegeti.

Minszk, 2020. augusztus 25.

5.

Stop the attempts to divide Belarusian society!

Statement by The Union of Belarusian Writers and Civic society organization Homeland

Recently, we are hearing more and more often from the Belarusian authorities at the highest level of intimidation that the aim of this year’s peaceful protests for fair elections is to use a violent appearance of the white-red-white flag. The accusation is Belarusization, as the plight of the Russian-speaking population. Thus, the authorities want to draw away attention of the current problems and distract from the citizens’ demands for fair and transparent new elections of the country’s President and to hold accountable all those guilty of violence against their own people.

The more often such statements are made, the more confidence there is that the authorities are trying to maintain a propaganda divide in Belarusian society – as recently in Ukraine. By imposing and spreading false information, the authorities want to sow hostility among the participants of the peaceful protest and, above all, to show external observers, primarily Russian ones, that Belarus currently needs to actively intervene in internal affairs, including domestic affairs, including the military.

We are convinced that the national symbols of Belarus, the white-red-white flag and “Pahonia”’, the coat of arms, will be included in the list of historical and cultural values, to serve the society only for its unity and consolidation, which shows peaceful protests, as our ancient protests are, so that the symbols are constantly secured and actively used by all generations of protesters.

The Belarusian language serves only the purpose of unity and is the undeniable value of the Belarusian nation and its people.

We, the Union of Belarusian Writers and the World Association of Belarusians “Homeland”,  demand to stop all attempts to divide the Belarusian society. We believe that such manipulations of the values of the Belarusian people are detrimental to relations with other states, harm the relations between them and threaten the sovereignty of our country.

The Secretariat of the Union of Belarusian Writers
Minsk, 25 August 2020        

______________

About the Union of Belarusian Writers

We are a professional creative community of Belarusian writers. Our Union is based on the principles of freedom of speech and self-expression. We strive to protect authors’ rights and to develop, popularize, and promote Belarusian literature as an integral value for society that is essential to the existence of the Belarusian nation.  Founded in 1933-34, the Union of Belarusian Writers is the oldest creative organization in Belarus. Its members include, among others, the Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and the well-known writers Uladzimir Niakliaeu, Raisa Baravikova, Uladzimir Arlou, Anatol Viarcinskі and Ales Razanau. For further information, please visit our webpage at lit-bel.org or contact us directly at ubw.office@gmail.com

Download the appeal of 17 August 2020, the Voices from Belarus and the summary of the political background

To the EWC Statement of 17 August 2020: The European Writers’ Council vehemently condemns the massive violations of free speech and human rights in Belarus.

To the EWC Statement of 24 August 2020:  THE EUROPEAN WRITERS’ COUNCIL CONDEMNS THE CRIMINAL CASE OPENED BY ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO AGAINST THE NOBEL PRIZE WINNER FOR LITERATURE, SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH, AND THE COORDINATION COUNCIL IN BELARUS

***

Since peaceful protests against a rigged election began in Belarus, the government has unleashed terrible violence against its own citizens, including children. The authorities have imprisoned demonstrators and are subjecting them to horrible conditions beyond comprehension.

These following reports and interviews document the arbitrary violence against citizens of Belarus. A summary of the political events can be found at the end of this collection of Voices from Belarus: fair elections human rights Writers

 

6.

Nem csendesedik az állami erőszak Fehéroroszországban

Hírek a Belorusz Írószövetség és az Európai Írók Tanácsa postájából

A belorusz hatóságok büntetőeljárást kezdeményeztek a Fehéroroszországi Koordinációs Tanács (Coordination Council in Belarus) tagjai, köztük a Nobel-díjas író, Szvetlana Alekszijevics ellen. Az Európai Írók Tanácsa (European Writers’ Council) elítéli ezt az eljárást, és olyan békés megoldásért száll síkra, amely minden állampolgár számára lehetővé teszi a szabadságot és a demokratikus részvételt. Egyben támogatásáról biztosítja tagszervezetét, a Belorusz Írószövetséget (Union of Belarusian Writers) a demokráciáért, a szólásszabadságért és az új, tisztességes választásokért tett erőfeszítéseiben.

A EWC felszólítja Fehéroroszország elnökét, Alexander Lukasenkát, hogy állítsa le az Ellenzéki Koordinációs Tanács üldözését, és fogadja el a demokratikus felhívást a békés hatalmi átmenet párbeszéd útján történő előkészítésére és új, tisztességes és demokratikus, nemzetközi ellenőrzés mellett lefolytatott elnökválasztásra.

A Koordinációs Tanácsot Szvetlana Tyihonovszkaja ellenzéki elnökjelölt alapította, és hetven tagja van: írók, művészek, civil társadalomszervezők, újságírók, üzletemberek, köztük a Belorusz Írószövetség Nobel-díjas tagja, Szvetlana Alekszijevics. Augusztus 20-án az Államügyész büntetőeljárást indított a Koordinációs Tanács ellen, azzal a váddal, hogy a testület „nemzetbiztonsági fenyegetést jelent”, illetve tagjai illegális hatalomátvételre törnek. Fehéroroszországban ezért öt év börtönbüntetés is kiszabható. Maxim Znak, a Koordinációs Tanács elnökségi tagja egy, a BBC-nek adott interjúban elmondta, hogy ennek nyomán jónéhány tag elhagyta az új testületet. Szvetlana Alekszijevics, Lukasenka egyik leghangosabb bírálója az elnökség tagja marad. A Deutschlandfunknak adott interjújában az írónő kimondta: „Véleményem szerint az államhatalom háborút indított saját népe ellen.”

„A nyílt vita a demokrácia és a társadalmi részvétel alapja”, állítja Nina George író, az EWC elnöke. „Elítéljük Lukasenka fenyegetést jelentő eljárását az ellenzéknek a szabadság és igazság érdekében kinyilvánított akarata ellen, amely a párbeszéd iránt kötelezi el magát – és felszólítjuk, hogy ejtse el a Koordinációs Tanács elleni eljárást, és bocsássa szabadon az új testület két letartóztatott tagját, Szergej Dilevszkit és Olga Kovalkovát. Támogatjuk tagszervezetünket, a Belorusz Írószövetséget a demokratikus és szabad választásokért , valamint a szólásszabadságért folytatott küzdelmében.”

Az Európai Írók Tanácsa Végrehajtó Bizottsága nevében

Myriam Diocaretz főtitkár

 

7.

The European Writers’ Council condemns the criminal case opened by Alexander Lukashenko against the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Svetlana Alexievich, and the Coordination Council in Belarus

The European Writers’Council demands a peaceful developmentin Belarus, whichwill allow its citizens freedom and democratic participation. The EWC supports it smember the Union of Belarusian Writers in its efforts for democracy, free speech and new fair elections.

Brussels, 24 August 2020

The European Writers’ Council calls on Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, to stop the prosecution against the Coordination Council of the Opposition and instead to accept the invitation of the democracy movement in order to enable a peaceful transition of power via dialogue, and with new, fair and democratic presidential elections with international supervision.

The Coordination Council was founded by the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovs-kaya, and is composed of about 70 members – authors, artists, civil society figures, journalists and business people, including the Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich, Member of the Union of Belarusian Writers. On August 20, the Prosecutor General in Belarus announced a criminal case against the Coordinating Council because the body “was a threat to national security”; its members are accused of an “illegal power grab”. Such accusations are punishable by five years in prison in Belarus. Maxim Znak, a member of the Coordination Council presidium, said in a BBC interview, that several council members had announced to leave the new body. Svetlana Alexievich, a vocal critic of Mr. Lukashenko, is remaining in the presidium. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk, Ms. Alexievich said: “In my opinion, the state power has declared war on its own nation.”

“Open dialogue is the basis of democracy and social participation”, says the writer and EWC President Nina George. “We condemn Lukashenko's threatening gesture against the will for freedom and justice of the opposition willing to engage in dialog, and call on him to drop the case against the Coordination Council and to release the arrested two members of the new body, Sergei Dilevsky and Olga Kovalkova. We support our EWC member, the Union of Belarusian Writers (UBW), in its efforts for democratic and free elections, and in its commitment to freedom of speech."

On behalf of the Board of the European Writers’ Council:

Myriam Diocaretz, Secretary-General

A Szépírók Társasága elnökségének levele a magyar külügyminiszterhez

Tisztelt Külügyminiszter úr,

Belorussziát és állampolgárait az elnyomás és a válogatás nélküli erőszak szörnyű hulláma sújtja azért, mert békés demontsrációkon a rendőri brutalitás ellen lépnek fel, az igazságtalanul bebörtönzöttek szabadonbocásátását követelik, továbbá kiállnak az átlátható és demokratikus új választásokért, az emberi jogok és a szólásszabadság tiszteletbentartásáért.

Újságírókat és bloggereket fenyegetnek, támadnak meg és tartóztatnak le; honlapokat kapcsoltak le, ellehetletlenítik az információhoz való szabad hozzájutást. Független források brutális utcai rendőri erőszakról számolnak be a nyílt utcán, és még súlyosabb bántalmazásokról a börtönökben, a lelki kínzások, a válogatás nélküli verés és erőszak rendszeres eseteiről – mint arról a Belorusz Írószövetség “Beszámolók Belorussziából” című, levelünkhöz mellékelt jelentéséből tájékozódhat.

Mindez a tömeges csalások és manipulációk megalapozott gyanújával lezajlott elnökválasztás után történt és történik, melynek nyomán az ellenzéki jelöltnek száműzetésbe kellett vonulnia.

Mi, a Szépírók Társasága – a magyar írótársadalom és az Európai Írók Szövetsége nevében is - arra kérjük Önt, hogy:

Magyarország és a magyar kormány nevében hivatalosan és nyilvánosan ítélje el az állampolgárok ellen irányuló erőszakot Belorussziában;

nyilvánítsa a belorussziai helyzetet Magyarország és a magyar kormány kiemelkedően fontos külpolitikai prioritásává, az EU, az Európa Tanács, a ENSZ és az Unesco keretei között képviselt nemzetközi politikai elkötelezettségévé;

nyújtson közvetlen és konkrét segítséget Belorusszia fenyegetett és zaklatást szenvedő állampolgárainak, köztük - a Belorusz Írószövetséggel való együttműködésben - az íróknak is,

követelje a 2020-as elnökválasztási kampány során és után letartóztatott állampolgárok azonnali szabadon bocsátását, egy hiteles Központi Választási Bizottság felállítását, valamint egy valóban szabad, tisztességes és átlátható, nemzetközi megfigyelők által végigkísért választás megtartását;

valamint  szólítsa fel az EU összes kormányát arra, hogy ne nézze csendben és tétlenül a történteket, hanem gyakoroljon erőteljes nyomást A. Lukasenka autokrata rezsimjére az EU alapjait képező értékek tiszteletbentartásának érdekében

Tisztelettel

a Szépírók Társasága nevében

Szkárosi Endre elnök                                                                          Czinki Ferenc alelnök

 

Mellékletek: 1. Az Európai Írók Tanácsának nyilatkozata,  2. A Belorusz Írószövetség jelentése (angol nyelven)

1. Az Európai Írók Tanácsának nyilatkozata

Az EWC (Európai Írók Tanácsa) erőteljesen és határozottan elítéli a szólásszabadság és az emberi jogok súlyos megsértését Fehéroroszországban

Az Európai Írók Tanácsát rendkívüli módon aggasztja az elnökválasztás hivatalos eredményei, illetve a Fehéroroszország autokrata elnöke, Alekszandr Lukasenko elleni békés tüntetések erőszakos és módszeres elnyomása. Az EWC teljes mértékben támogatja tagszervezete, a Belarusz Írók Szövetsége (UBW) felhívását a szolidaritásra, a véleménynyilvánítás szabadságának tiszteletben tartására, valamint az átlátható és demokratikus új választások megrendezésére.

Brüsszel, 2020.08.17.  Az Európai Írók Tanácsát és Végrehajtó Testületét mélyen megrázták a súlyos manipuláció gyanújával beárnyékolt elnökválasztást követően Fehéroroszországban jelenleg zajló események. Fehéroroszországot az elnyomás szörnyű hullám sújtja: válogatás nélküli erőszak áldozatai mindazok a békés tüntetők, akik a rendőrségi bántalmazás ellen, a jogtalanul börtönben tartott foglyok szabadon bocsátásáért, továbbá az átlátható és demokratikus új választások megszervezéséért, az emberi jogok és a véleménynyilvánítás szabadságáért emelnek szót.  Az újságírókat és bloggereket folyamatosan fenyegetik, támadják és letartóztatják; a hírportálokat letiltották, az információhoz való szabad hozzáférést megszüntették.

„Folyamatos kapcsolatban állunk az EWC-tag Belarusz Írók Szövetségével, a kapott hírek pedig rendkívül zavaróak és lehangolóak” - mondja Nina George, az EWC elnöke. „Független forrásaink az utcán brutális rendőrségi erőszakról, a börtönökben pedig még súlyosabb visszaélésekről számolnak be, ideértve a pszichológiai kínzást, a válogatás nélküli verést és a nemi erőszakot. Ez az erőszak mindazon fehéroroszok ellen irányul, akik a véleménynyilvánítás és a gyülekezés szabadságához fűződő jogaikat gyakorolják, és országukban a valóban demokratikus alapelvek tiszteletben tartását követelik. Szorgalmazzuk, hogy az Európai Unió kormányai ne kövessék némán az eseményeket, hanem gyakoroljanak erőteljes nyomást Alyaksandr Lukashenka [Alexandr Lukasenko] autokratikus rezsimére az erőszak megállítása és az Európai Unió alapját képező értékek tiszteletben tartása érdekében.”

Az EWC határozottan támogatja a Fehéroroszországgal való szolidaritás iránti, mellékelt felhívást, amelyet tagszövetsége, az ENSZ Emberi Jogok Chartájának elvei mellett határozottan elkötelezett Belarusz Írók Szövetsége (UBW) tett közzé. Az EWC felkéri az írókat, újságírókat és Európa polgárait, hogy terjesszék az UBW mellékelt felhívását és a Minszkben zajló gyalázatos eseményekről szóló jelentését. Az EWC arra kéri az összes szervezetet, hogy hallassák a hangjukat, és szólítsák fel kormányaikat, hogy tegyenek lépéseket az emberi jogok és a demokratikus alapelvek ilyen botrányos megsértése ellen.

„Fehéroroszország Európa része. Ne hagyjuk Fehéroroszország népét egyedül egy valóban demokratikus ország felépítése érdekében tett erőfeszítéseikben. Mindannyiunknak a legerősebb demokratikus eszközünket: a szavunkat kell használnunk” - fejezi be Nina George.

Az Európai Írók Tanácsának testülete nevében

Myriam Diocaretz, az EWC főtitkára

 

2. A Belorusz Írószövetség jelentése (angol nyelven)

The Union of Belarusian Writers appeals for international solidarity to stop violence directed against peaceful protesters and to hold free, fair and transparent new elections in Belarus.

Minsk, Belarus - August 16, 2020

An Appeal to Europeans and Citizens of the World: Please speak out about Belarus, write about the tragic situation here, and relay this appeal to the national leaders of your country with your demands for timely and effective political responses against the perpetrators of torture and election rigging in Belarus.

The Union of Belarusian Writers, invoking the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calls on all literary organizations, journalists and other cultural figures to express their solidarity with the people of Belarus.

At this critical moment for the Belarusian people, we ask you to help disseminate information about suspected large-scale election falsification and the recent escalation in indiscriminate acts of violence against our country’s civilians. You will find more details in the attached appendix titled “Voices of Belarus”.

We urgently call on you to raise attention and contribute to the independent charitable project BY_HELP that is helping victims of these mass assaults. As of August 14th, the initiative had already collected more than USD 2,000,000 in donations from around the world.

For its part, the Union of Belarusian Writers has already demanded that the Belarusian authorities immediately stop the violence against peaceful protesters, release all citizens arrested during the 2020 election campaign, reconstitute a credible Central Election Committee, and hold a free, fair and transparent election under international observation.

 

The Secretariat of the Union of Belarusian Writers Minsk, 16 August 2020

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About the Union of Belarusian Writers

We are a professional creative community of Belarusian writers. Our Union is based on the principles of freedom of speech and self-expression. We strive to protect authors’ rights and to develop, popularize, and promote Belarusian literature as an integral value for society that is essential to the existence of the Belarusian nation. Founded in 1933-34, the Union of Belarusian Writers is the oldest creative organization in Belarus. Its members include, among others, the Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and the well-known writers Uladzimir Niakliaeu, Raisa Baravikova, Uladzimir Arlou, Anatol Viarcinskі and Ales Razanau. For further information, please visit our webpage at lit-bel.org or contact us directly at ubw.office@gmail.com

 

VOICES FROM BELARUS

 

Since peaceful protests against a rigged election began in Belarus, the government has unleashed terrible violence against its own citizens, including children. The authorities have imprisoned demonstrators and are subjecting them to horrible conditions beyond comprehension.

Aliaksei Liavonchyk, chief coordinator of the BY_HELP project that is supporting Belarusians who have suffered the effects of this repression, collected the following interviews and statements.

“Yesterday until midnight (and then from 1 a.m. until 4 a.m.) I sorted through messages about prison conditions. The mildest scenario was people being deprived of food and water for three days. Prison cells were filled with tear gas. Fifty people had to fit into a space of 10 square meters. Detainees were piled on top of each other and not allowed to move for hours. In the morning, they were driven from their cells and forced to undress. Those who oversaw the detainees commanded them to squat down and began beating them. There was at least one case of injury to the rectum – someone was raped with an object. There were many more of these terrible stories: constant beatings, dowsing detainees with cold water, and other inhumane persecution,” Liavonchyk reported.

Working with journalists, Liavonchyk gathered interviews, statements and observations from those outside prisons around Minsk. The following Voices from Belarus are just a few selected cases that have been confirmed by witnesses and documented with pictures.

 

Dmitriy Morgunov, an entrepreneur from Minsk:

“… the police cut holes in their trousers and shorts and threatened to put a grenade up into their intestines.”

“Two riot policemen decided that I was a terrorist. Maybe it was because I was wearing a biker jacket. They pushed me down into a basement. They harshly beat my legs and body with batons while loudly demanding that I tell them who paid me how much to participate in the protest. They asked me, ‘Why have you, a terrorist, shut down the internet across the country? Why are you undermining peace and order in Belarus?’ They beat me so badly that I almost passed out. They pulled me into a gym and said that they would continue the beating later. I was rescued by a more or less sane riot policeman: he dragged me into a different corner where I could lie down, half-alive.”

The biggest shock Dmitriy experienced was the behaviour of one police officer her colleagues called “Kristina”. “She walked from man to man, intentionally pushing our legs apart to sadistically strike our groins with a baton. She beat men’s testicles. This woman punished one man’s genitalia while standing on his legs. He later told me that his whole groin was black and blue with bruises. Kristina was about 30 years old, with blond hair and of average height. She wore a police uniform and a protective mask.”

As Dmitriy explained, most people he met in the gym of the Frunzenskiy police department remembered her cruelty. He was then packed into a small room with seven other men. During his confinement there, the group of eight received a single bottle of water. “Not giving us water is pure fascism,” he noted.

Dmitriy was then moved to a prison located on Okrestin Street. There, everyone was forced to kneel and put their arms behind their backs and their heads on the floor. They had to remain in that position for almost five hours. There were many people who had been beaten; they simply could not hold themselves up and fell to the ground. An ambulance came to take away those with the most serious fractures and other injuries. However, a local doctor came and said: “there is no need to take them to the hospital; I will take care of everyone here.”

Dmitriy says that there was no free space in the prison and around one hundred people were crammed into something resembling a hut outside the main building. There was just a ceiling and a cold concrete floor. Many people were shirtless, some had torn clothes, and many were barefoot. Everyone was cold at night. We had to sleep in shifts. There were roughly 20 places for people to perch while the other 80 had to stand.

Dmitriy noticed one interesting detail. At least a quarter of those with whom he was detained in the hut (about 25 people) had their trousers cut from behind. He did not understand why they had holes in the area of the buttocks. He was told that the police had cut their trousers and shorts there and threatened to put a grenade up into their intestines.

Dmitriy says that among those with whom he spoke, he did not encounter anyone who had built barricades in the streets. Nor had anyone fought with the riot police – these were ordinary people. One was caught near a department store; another while walking in a park. Others had been dragged from their cars.

 

Vadim, arrested for simply being outside:

“You just have to sit and wait. Because the prison is overcrowded, you cannot sleep or even lie down. If you start asking questions, they start beating you.”

Vadim was arrested while hanging out with friends in the street. “Can you please block me,” he says to people as we talk to him near the walls of the prison. He wants them to stand behind us so no one can see that he is being interviewed. Throughout the 17-minute conversation, he was frequently scared that somebody was watching him.

“When we arrived at the prison, the car doors opened, and riot policemen were standing in a line. As you made your way toward the main building, they beat you up from the left and from the right. It is some sort of entertainment that they enjoy.”

Vadim often replaces the word “we” with “you,” probably trying to distance himself from what happened to him.

“The policemen scream, ‘Get a f*cking move on’. The atmosphere was like a drunk man beating his loved ones in a flat. We were ordered to stand by a wall and kneel down for two or three hours. Why did we need to be like that for so long? As I understand, most spaces were occupied by other prisoners. Then we were moved to a different room, with four walls and a cage. This happened at 3 a.m.”

As Vadim recalls, the police met any requests with violence and aggressive treatment. “If you started asking questions, they started beating you,” he says. He stayed silent most of the time and remained untouched. The requests of the others were very modest; food, water, a doctor.

“For the first 48 hours we were not given any food; people were screaming, ‘I want to eat’. After spending two days in the cell, some got angry. They banged on the cell door and asked for food. We heard them being beaten in response. In my cell, everyone remained silent. Most of those who sat with me were adults, up to 50 years old, and did not suffer so much.”

Prison life, Vadim continues, can be described in a few words: “You just have to sit and wait. Because the prison is overcrowded, you cannot sleep or even lie down.”

“At one point, we had a newcomer” (Vadim thought this was someone who had just arrived); his jeans were covered in blood, which he said was his friend’s. The second person who came was coughing blood.

In our interview, a reporter asked, “Have you been tried yet?”

The response was, “I was not really even officially there. Nothing like a court appearance took place. I was arrested, detained and imprisoned.”

Someone from the crowd asked if Vadim needed help getting home, to which he replied that he still wanted to spend some time near the prison with others.

 

Aliaksei, a 22-year-old detainee:

“I am concussed – they hit my head pretty hard.”

22-year-old Aliaksei told us how he and his friends were picked up on their way home. Although they had seen police cars, they decided that their walk wouldn’t be problematic because they hadn’t broken any laws. However, they were stopped and searched.

After that, three of them were dragged into a car and beaten. “They punched us with their hands, kicked us, and used batons, while cursing all the time. They did not explain why. What they were saying was undecipherable. They told us that we were fascists, we had sold out our motherland, we were mercenaries, we were controlled from Poland, we were traitors, we should be lined up against a wall and shot. Afterwards they took us to the central police department and continued beating us. I am not sure whether they were the same policemen who’d caught us: they all wore masks and did not use names.”

He said that those detained were forced to lie face down on the ground in a large room; their hands were tied behind their backs, and they were beaten again. The police were screaming something like, “Where are your weapons; you were going to kill us, weren’t you!” “Then they made us lie down in a corridor and started kicking us. There were many there, around 20 for sure. They then went to write a report. I started feeling bad; my heart hurt and my blood pressure increased. An ambulance was called, and I got sent to the hospital. Now I have a doctor’s report that says I have a concussion they hit my head pretty hard. Nobody returned my stuff; they took my money, my apartment keys. I asked them to return them to me, and they said they’d found nothing.

The policemen also forced him to unlock his phone, to “log on and write something from my address.”

 

A 40-year-old resident of Homel

“They then chained me to a window with handcuffs.”

A 40-year-old resident of Homel was riding home on his bike. He got caught 100 meters from his house. “They arrested me near McDonalds. They started beating me right away and used abusive language. They asked where I’d put the 50 rubles I’d been paid for the protests. They sprayed pepper spray into my eyes and hit my head against a doorway.”

“They transported me to the police department. There, a group of very aggressive policemen took me to the gym and threw me to the floor. They continued beating me and being disrespectful. They then chained me to a window with handcuffs this happened in the gym. There were around 20 people there just like me.”

“The policemen were watching what was happening around the country and laughing. It seemed to me that they became even more aggressive after watching the videos. When I tried to get up, they knocked me down. I started to lose consciousness. An ambulance took me to the hospital. I had a traumatic brain injury and other injuries.”

 

Uladzimer Charauha, a resident of Hrodna

“Momma, I don’t want to die,” said the five year old girl as her mother was taking her out of the car.

The Hrodna residents Uladzimer Charauha, his wife Ira and their five-year-old daughter were driving home in the city. Near Dziekabrystau Square, the traffic started to slow down. Some cars were honking their horns. Charauha did not use his horn, nor did his car have any symbols on it. But suddenly five men in black uniforms jumped out of a taxi in front of them and started hitting his car with their batons.

Scared for his family’s safety, he moved into the next lane. When his car was alongside the taxi, somebody hit the windshield with a baton, shattering it. At the same time, a military vehicle barged into his car. Glass rained down on the passengers. Uladzimer jumped out of the car and was hit on the head with a baton. He started bleeding profusely.

He tried to tell them that there was a child in the car. “I couldn’t call the ambulance myself because I was bleeding badly and my phone wasn’t working,” he recalls. He was detained and interrogated for the entire night, then released. A man nearby took his child to the hospital. The girl’s head had been injured; now her face is heavily bandaged. The doctors diagnosed an internal head injury. Her mother remembers the child saying, “Momma, I don’t want to die,” as she took her out of the car. Now she is scared of going outside.

 

 

Summary of the political background

In May 2020, the campaign for the next presidential election began in Belarus. The election was scheduled for August 9, 2020. From the start it was feared that the authorities were preparing large- scale vote rigging. Only government representatives were allowed to serve on regional election committees; the participation of all independent representatives was blocked.

The situation deteriorated. The authorities arrested the two most popular candidates banker Viktar Babaryka and blogger Siargei Tsihanouski. They also threatened a third candidate, former head of the High Technologies Park Valer Tsapkala, with possible charges.

In the weeks leading up to the election, the organization Reporters sans frontières (RSF Reporters Without Borders) reported election-related repression after the authorities arrested a number of journalists for covering demonstrations and rallies held by opposition candidates. According to RSF, foreign media were also obstructed in order to limit independent reporting.

When the candidates began collecting the signatures required under Belarus’s election law, their campaign teams were subjected to harassment and numerous arrests were made across the country. Other politicians and civic activists were also arrested. All of them, as well as the imprisoned candidates, are recognized as political prisoners by domestic human rights organizations and Amnesty International. A total of more than 1,000 persons are reported to have been preventively arrested prior to the election.

After the candidates had collected and submitted the signatures, the Central Election Committee (CEC) rejected outright several hundred thousand of them and did not register the most popular opposition candidates. Nevertheless, the CEC allowed Sviatlana Tsichanouskaya, the wife of political prisoner Siargei Tsihanouski, to be registered on the assumption that she posed no threat to President Lukashenko.

Although President Lukashenko managed significantly to reduce the pool of those running against him, Belarusian society united around Tsichanouskaya, a teacher and homemaker. The election teams of the two other most popular non-registered candidates joined and assisted her campaign. This merger allowed the many supporters of change to combine their forces and resources and unite behind Tsichanouskaya. As a result, her rallies grew larger by the day, beginning with several hundred participants in the first days and culminating with 65,000 supporters during one of her final events in Minsk.

In the meantime, the CEC issued a new regulation restricting the number of authorized observers inside voting stations to three. Other independent observers were only allowed to stand outside voting stations and were banned from entering the building and monitoring the voting process. The government also made independent opinion polls illegal.

During the early voting period, independent observers noticed a significant difference in the number of those who had actually voted and the number of those who were said to have voted by officials. According to the CEC, about 42% of the electorate voted early, leaving significant opportunity for falsification. The German TV programme Tagesschau reported signs of massive manipulation during the voting process.

On election day, August 9th, the CEC limited the number of people who could be inside voting stations, creating long lines. Inside the stations, most voting booths had no curtains. Thus, voters were deprived of their right to vote privately. After the voting process had been completed, not all commissions announced the election results and some were seen to leave voting stations in buses guarded by special forces and police, while people awaited the results outside.

In the evening, the CEC announced the preliminary results: the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko led with 80% of the vote, while Sviatlana Tsichanouskaya was credited with only 9%. These alleged results angered many voters, who felt that they did not reflect the real choice of the electorate. The Belarusian independent newspaper Nasha Niva published vote count lists that deviated greatly from the official results, showing Tsichanouskaya to be far ahead of President Lukashenko. “Honest People”, an independent initiative, announced that Tsichanouskaya had won around 85% of votes in stations where non-state observers had been present and monitoring.

The fraudulent actions of the government and the CEC sparked large protests in cities and towns across Belarus. On the evening of the election, the government shut down the country’s internet and this continued to varying degrees for the next three days, making it difficult for protestors to communicate and coordinate. From the very first hours of the demonstrations, police resorted to brute force and cracked down hard on protesters. Riot police and the military were called in and made indiscriminate use of flashbang grenades, rubber bullets, water cannons, and tear gas against crowds. Many peaceful protesters were violently beaten and received serious injuries. Such actions inspired large numbers of citizens to resort to non-violent resistance.

 

Employing brute force and verbal abuse, riot police and SWAT forces attacked ordinary bystanders and pedestrians who had not engaged in any way with the protests. Those who tried to escape into the grounds of apartment complexes were chased down by the police. The police attempted to break into building entrances and dwellings in pursuit of them. In the days that followed, the security forces attacked and smashed cars that showed support for the protestors by honking their horns.

Over the last few days, more than 6,000 people are estimated to have been detained. A number of journalists, despite being accredited and clearly identified, are reported to have been beaten and apprehended in the streets. After being released from prison, many testified about being tortured while in custody. The abuse began when the arrested were shoved into police vans. There, the police punched men and women, kicked them, and used batons. Their heads were banged against walls. Many were handcuffed, forced to lie down and subjected to brutal violence. Some policemen deliberately aimed their blows at the prisoners’ heads and groins.

As a result of these violent actions, two people have been officially declared dead. The whereabouts of a considerable number of protesters are still unknown. The number of people who have been tortured and killed may be significantly higher. Observers noted an enormous number of ambulances parked near prisons. As of today, more than 500 people who suffered torture in prisons, gunshot and fragmentation grenade wounds and police beatings remain in hospital.

According to data compiled by human rights defenders, more than 1,300 protesters have been charged with alleged crimes and saddled with large fines.

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We are ready to provide further information or details and answer any and all questions upon request. Thank you for your interest and concern.

Contact us directly at ubw.office@gmail.com

 

The Secretariat of the Union of Belarusian Writers Minsk, August 17, 2020

English