Updated at 17:58,12-04-2021

Wozniak: Kovalenko gave the authorities chance to get rid of the problem


Political prisoner Sergei Kovalenko wrote a letter to Alexander Lukashenko in one line: "Please release me". His didn't admit any guilt. The prisoner told this his brother and father at a short-term meeting on July 25.

In protest against repressions Kovalenko often held long hunger strikes - in recent months he has been on the verge of life and death not once. Was it worth to torment himself so much, his family, small children, and in the end to wrote an appeal for pardon anyway? Although it consists of only three words.

"I also was in jail, I know what it is, although to a lesser extent than Sergei Kovalenko", says one of the "Tell the Truth!" campaign's leaders Sergei Wozniak, convicted in the case of "19 December". "I don't consider myself entitled to evaluate his actions in a negative light. I have no right to condemn".

"The regime offers the release of political prisoners through writing an appeal for pardon. Each has its own situation, everyone makes own choices. Escape to freedom through pardon is one option which the state power offers today, and tomorrow, thanks to the treachery of Belarusian opposition, this escape couldn't exist anymore. The society strains the situation around those political prisoners, who wrote the pardon, in vain. All honest people are happy to meet Kovalenko at large, and he will justify his release by successful activities against the regime", said the BCD co-chairman Vital Rymasheuski. "I wrote a letter of the same content, though I don't say it was an appeal for pardon. Everybody makes own choice".

Both "Decembrists" believe that Sergei Kovalenko has a chance to be free. But none of them undertakes to predict - when it is possible.

"The feeling is that chance exists. Kovalenko has become a serious problem for the authorities, and his petition gives the authorities a formal excuse to get rid of this problem. Kovalenko gives a chance the authorities - they should use it, since not everyone is crazy there", says Sergey Wozniak.

"For regime it's extremely important to legitimize this "house" (House of Representatives - udf.by) and it is very important to defend the right to have political prisoners. Some of the political prisoners may be released for the sake of "house" legalization - it can happen before "the elections" or immediately after them. Unfortunately, the political prisoners is a bargain - and Europe is involved in this bargaining. Will they release some political prisoners before or after "the elections" - it all depends on backstage negotiations on the "house" recognition. And such negotiations are being held", Vital Rymasheuski believes.