Updated at 13:19,16-08-2022

Man of unbending spirit: Statkevich's another birthday behind bars


Mikalai Statkevich is the last 2010 presidential candidate to be in prison. Today is his 57th birthday.

"I will be talking to Lukashenka in this manner of his"

For the years of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s rule Mikalai Statkevich has been subjected to administrative penalty more than 30 times; before the 2001 and 2005 presidential elections criminal cases were initiated against him. The sentence given to Mr Statkevich in 2011 was one of the toughest: six years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony.

The reason might be explained by the fact that in his election speech Mikalai Statkevich addressed to the current president demanding "to give back all that you have stolen". Statkevich stressed he would talk to Mr Lukashenka like the latter usually did.

Pressure behind bars

The authorities are trying to embitter Statkevich’s life even in prison putting him to a disciplinary cell or making him share a ward with an AIDS sufferer. What hurts the most is that the political prisoner is restricted in his freedom to be contacted and visited by his family.

For example, once the politician was sent to a punitive confinement because the prison officers found two nose-wipers labelled as "hygiene products", which was qualified as "gross violation".

However, the former presidential candidate keeps mantaining his innocence and resuses to ask President Lukashenka for pardon.

In January, 2012 Statkevich was transferred from Shklou penal colony No 17 to a closed prison, where conditions of confinement are much more severe. Such verdict was attained in the session of court which took place in the colony. According to its administration, Statkevich "failed to mend his ways" and "are not seeking to be released on parole".

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Mikalai Statkevich graduated from Minsk Higher Engineering School of Anti-Aircraft Missile Defense. In the times of perestroika he published his program of making-up the Belarusian Army which was fulfilled after Belarus became independent. He was the only Belarusian militant to have made a stand against the August Coup in Moscow. In 1991 Statkevich declared founding the Belarusian Association of Militants; its members were the first to swear allegiance to the young republic.
Watch Belsat’s documentary ‘Statkevich’s Road’ and find out more about him!