A few days ago, a prayer pilgrimage of the Mothers 328 movement began.
Members of the movement advocate for a mitigation of punishment under Article 328 of the Administrative Offences Code, and several women have travelled to cities where there are prisons where drug convicts are held. They pray near the prison walls with a special icon, which was sent from Greece, Alena Kuzmina explained to Radio Racyja.
– A monastery abbot presented the icon of the Mother of God Hodigitria especially for us, the mothers. 182 churches prayed over this icon especially for us, and it became like the soul of our movement... We go to the service, and then we go further – sometimes on foot, sometimes by train or by car, depends on good luck. We started in Minsk, then visited Babruisk, a colony for minors, then correctional colony № 2, then there was Homel, Mahiliou, Shklou, now Vitsebsk. And the way goes further – Polatsk colony № 1 and Vouchy Nory, colony № 22, where only drug-addicted people serve.
The pilgrimage began on June 6th, with several people taking part in it all the time. But in each city, local Mothers 328 members pray with them near the prisons. Natallia Sharypava from Vitsebsk also came to pray to the Vitsebsk detention center:
– My son spent a year and two months in this jail. Article 328, part one and part four, 14 years. I want people to remember that they are human beings, too. And I want people be more merciful.
Women hope that their prayers will help the authorities to review the content of Article 328 and reduce sentences. The article's sanctions provide for up to 20 years of imprisonment for the predominantly young people convicted for drugs. Mothers of prisoners have been trying to achieve changes in the legislation for 4 years, but the authorities ignore their initiatives.