“Not everyone knows whether you have political prisoners”


In Ukraine they started the campaign for political prisoners in Belarus. The international Centre “Collaboration without borders” has initiated it. Famous Ukrainians will record video appeals in support of Belarusian political prisoners.

The former Ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus Roman Bessmertny has become the first participant. He has supported Andrei Sannikau, Zmitser Dashkevich, Zmitser Bandarenka and other Belarusian political prisoners in his appeal.

The organization is proud of its campaign is hopes to encourage ordinary Ukrainians to support Belarusian political prisoners. Addresses that can be used to send letters to Belarusian political prisoners will be placed at the end of every video appeal.

European Radio for Belarus talked with Ihor Huz, the initiator of action and the coordinator of the Center “Collaboration without borders”.

Euroradio: The first video-appeal contains words of support from the former Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus Roman Bessmertny. Whose appeals do you plan to record in the future?

Huz: We plan to involve a number of the Supreme Council’s members. We have a parliamentary group “Ukraine-Belarus”, which includes members of parliament who believe that political prisoners in Belarus – this is not the XXI century, and not even the XX, this is the result of Lukashenka’s dictatorship in action. Among the participants of our action there will be famous musicians, representatives of the church who also know that there are political prisoners, and repressions against the church, in Belarus. Also, these will be the civil activists who know about the problems of Belarus as well. Our video-appeals are aimed at both Ukrainians and Belarusians. We want the Ukrainians to understand what is happening in Belarus as the TV won’t show it. Not everyone knows that there are political prisoners in the country, that the election wasn’t democratic, that Belarusians cannot walk around the city streets with their native white-red-white flag.

Euroradio: You’ve mentioned musicians – who could record such a video-appeal? Aleh Skrypka? Svyataslau Vakarchuk?

Huz: We cannot say anything beforehand, but these will be the musicians who are popular both in Ukraine and Belarus. For example, we have already recorded a video-appeal of Ukraine’s people’s deputy. I mean, we will provide information by portions in order to make this campaign last for a year or at least until all the political prisoners are released.

Euroradio: Has your organization conducted similar actions in support of the Ukrainian political prisoners, Julia Tymoshenko, for instance?

Huz: This is a different context, as Julia Tymoshenko’s party has 100 party members in the Supreme Council. It has been done at her party’s web-site. We, as a civil and political organization, cover different spheres of activity, me in particular, being a member of Volyn regional council.

Euroradio: In his appeal, Roman Bessmertny addresses to Andrej Sannikau, Zmitser Dashkevich and others, but the Belarusian political prisoners will not see this video. Probably, your aim is mostly Ukrainian citizens?

Huz: I do realize that they won’t see the appeal, but somebody will tell them about it. This is mostly a philosophic and moral implication that the Ukraine’s Ambassador addresses to them. Sooner or later, they will come out of their prisons and then they will know that Ukraine supports them.

Euroradio: Where did the idea of video-appeals come from?

Huz: We saw how it was done by the Free Theatre in Minsk, when famous people from England and the USA, famous actors recorded such video-appeals on the problems of violation of democracy and the citizens’ rights in Belarus. A similar campaign exists in Russia, people make video-appeals dedicated to Khodorkovsky.

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