Minsk regime has killed five political prisoners, there will be more – Tsikhanouskaya

  • 2024-03-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The Minsk regime has killed five political prisoners in prisons over the past few years and the number of victims will increase in future, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Vilnius-based Belarusian opposition leader, warns.

"Lukashenko's regime has already killed five Belarusian political prisoners: Ihar Lednik, Vitold Ashurak, Vadim Krasko, Ales Pushkin and Mikalai Klimovich. And he continues to kill. People are being slowly killed in prisons," she told reporters in Vilnius on Friday.

On Friday before noon, Tsikhanouskaya and several activists staged a protest outside the Belarusian Embassy in Vilnius to draw attention to their imprisoned colleagues. The Belarusian opposition estimates that there are around 1,500 such prisoners.

"It's been a year since I last heard from my husband. Since then it has only been silence.

I only received an anonymous letter saying that he had passed away," she said.

Tsikhanouskaya's husband Siarhei has been serving a prison sentence since 2020 when he announced his plans to rung for president in Belarus.

There has been no contact with other well-known imprisoned activists, including Maria Kolesnikova, Viktor Babaryka, Maxim Znak and Ihar Losik, for the past year.

Lukashenko's former rival in the 2020 presidential election, Tsikhanouskaya says the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny should have stirred up the international community, but there has been only "condemnation and concern" so far.

She called on the United Nations to address the issue as quickly as possible, as it was a humanitarian, not a political, issue.

"We must take action to prevent further tragedies. The torture of people in prisons must stop.," she said.