Charter97.org Editor-in-Chief Natallia Radzina addressed the Belarusian authorities.
Several sources at once reported to me that leader of the Belarusian opposition Mikalai Statkevich had died in prison. At first, this was reported by a man recently released from the prison in Hlybokaje, who was imprisoned on non-political charges. I also received more confirmations through all possible channels later. Finally, one source from the system of the Department of Execution of Punishments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus said very carefully choosing his words that “such a long absence of information about Mikalai Statkevich may indicate his death, which they are trying to hide.”
We have no information about Statkevich for more than 9 months. No letters or calls from him. He is forbidden contact with his lawyer and meetings with his wife. During the years of imprisonment in one of the toughest colonies in Hlybokaje, where he is serving his 14-year sentence, the 67-year-old politician suffered from COVID-19 four times. It is known that he had problems with his heart. However, parcels are also prohibited for him and even packages with medicines that Mikalai Statkevich’s wife Maryna Adamovich sends to prison sometimes come back to her undelivered.
I respect Mikalai Statkevich immensely and I don't want to believe that the information about his death could be true. I really don't want to believe it. Therefore, I call on the authorities to immediately refute this and show Mikalai Statkevich alive.
We don’t need a video where it will be impossible to determine the time of taking it on Belarusian television. Even a meeting with a lawyer, who, as we know, is far from independent in the current Belarusian conditions won’t be enough. Show us Mikalai Statkevich, if he is alive. Show him to his closest and dearest person – Maryna Adamovich. Allow them to meet him or at least to have a video conversation with him!
Otherwise, your silence will mean that the sources were right and the death of one more political prisoner is on Lukashenka’s and his punishers’ hands. Not only the dictator will bear responsibility for this crime, he really went mad in revenge on his opponents, but also every employee of the penal colony in Hlybokaje and the entire system of the Department of Execution of Punishments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus will be responsible.
Natallia Radaina, the Editor-in-Chief of Charter97.org