Statement of the Ukrainian PEN Centre in support of Belarusian writers
Ukrainian writers are concerned about the events unfolding in neighbouring Belarus. There, in the capital and a number of other cities, mass protests against deepening integration with the Russian Federation have recently taken place. Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime responded to such manifestations of dissent by intensifying repressions. Detained activists, including many of our fellow litterateurs, members of Belarusian PEN Centre, are either imprisoned or imposed with administrative fines of a significant amount just for expressing their views and beliefs.
Thus far, civil activists Paviel Sieviaryniec and Alena Talstaya have already served their several-day imprisonment in the notorious Offender Isolation Centre on Akrestsina Street. Mrs Talstaya describes detention facilities as repugnant: unsanitary conditions, freezing cold, and brutal treatment from guards and convoy on the verge of torture. Furthermore, they ordered the activist to pay a fine of 1350 Belarusian rubles (BYR).
On 9 and 10 January, trials of translator Liavon Barsceuski, linguist Piatro Sadoŭski, Uladzimir Niaklaeu and Uladzimir Arlou – prominent representatives of contemporary Belarusian belles-lettres – are to take place in courts of Central and Lenin districts of Minsk. Their works as well as their active civil stance are well-known beyond Belarus, including in Ukraine.
PEN Ukraine urges Belarusian authorities to end persecution and harassment of civil activists and writers who represent the face of contemporary Belarusian literature and Belarusian culture in the whole world.
Signatories (the list is being updated):
Metropolitan Borys Gudziak
Archbishop Ihor Isichenko
Photo credit: Радыё Свабода(Radio Liberty Belarus)