Updated at 14:17,22-06-2022

Wife fears that “serious provocations“ may be carried out against Sannikaw


The wife of Andrey Sannikaw expressed fears Wednesday that authorities might carry out "serious provocations" against her husband.

The former presidential candidate, held currently in a detention center in Mahilyow pending transfer to a prison in Babruysk, told his lawyer on Tuesday that he had received death threats, the wife, journalist Iryna Khalip, said at a news conference in Minsk on September 28.

An inmate told Mr. Sannikaw that he had been warned by "two officers in plain clothes" that he should be careful as the politician might be killed or beaten up either in the detention center or on his way to the correctional institution in the Mahilyow region, said Ms. Khalip.

According to the woman, Mr. Sannikaw initially shared the cell in the facility with two inmates convicted of serious crimes who themselves expressed surprise that the politician had been placed together with them in one cell.

They also reportedly warned Mr. Sannikaw that his safety was under threat.

"We are not going to kill you, but you may be moved to another cell where you would be severely beaten or even killed, or you may be placed in a cell housed by people with a low social status," Ms. Khalip quoted the inmates as telling Mr. Sannikaw.

She said that Mr. Sannikaw had been placed in solitary confinement at the request of his lawyer afterward. "By doing so, the administration of facility confirmed that Mr. Sannikaw is under threat," she noted.

Ms. Khalip said that Mr. Sannikaw had been denied a meeting with a medical doctor or the administration of the facility after receiving the threats.

She suggested that authorities attempted to intimidate her husband to force him to apply to Alyaksandr Lukashenka for a pardon. "Or, they just want to destroy him as a personality," she said.

Last Wednesday, Ms. Khalip was notified that her husband had been removed from the prison in Navapolatsk, Vitsyebsk region, to be transferred to Correctional Institution No. 2 in Babruysk, Mahilyow region.

On Friday, Ms. Khalip visited the interior ministry`s Corrections Department, where she was told that he husband was still in transit and scheduled to arrive in Babruysk the following day.

The politician`s whereabouts remained unknown until Monday morning.

On May 14, a district judge in Minsk sentenced Mr. Sannikaw to five years in prison, finding him guilty of organizing "mass disorder" in connection with a post-election protest staged in the Belarusian capital city on December 19, 2010.