Melding fra Svetlana Aleksievitsj

Maskerte menn forsøkte onsdag 9. september å komme seg inn i leiligheten til Svetlana Aleksievitsj. I går ble tre medlemmer av Hviterussisk PEN anholdt.

9. september 2020

Foto: PEN Belarus

Vi står sammen med kolleger i Hviterussland, og er dypt bekymret over utviklingen.

I går ble tre medlemmer av Hviterussisk PEN anholdt. Blant dem var sekretæren i Hviterussisk PEN, Hanna Komar.

I dag morges forsøkte maskerte menn å ta seg inn i leiligheten til Svetlana Aleksievitsj, leder av Hviterussisk PEN og nobelprisvinner. Hun mobiliserte raskt, og mange aktivister kom til leiligheten hennes for å følge med. I tillegg samlet et stort antall journalister seg, samt en rekke diplomater fra flere europeiske land, deriblant Sverige.

Europeiske diplomater og ambassadører hjemme hos Svetlana Aleksievitsj onsdag morgen. Foto: Ann Linde/Twitter

Da alt startet i dag, skrev Svetlana Aleksievitsj en tekst som ble delt av Hviterussisk PEN. Vi viderebringer en engelsk oversettelse, med originalspråket under.

Here again, someone unknown is ringing the doorbell …

There is no one left of my friends and associates in the opposition’s Coordination Council. They are all in prison, or they have been thrown out of the country. The last, Maksim Znak, was taken today.

First they seized our country, and now they are seizing the best of us. But hundreds of others will come and fill the places of those who have been taken from our ranks. It is the whole country which has risen up, not just the Coordination Council. I want to say again what I have always said: that we were not attempting to start a coup. We did not want to split the country. We wanted to start a dialogue in society. Lukashenko has said he won’t speak ‘with the street’ – but the streets are filled with hundreds of thousands of people who come out to protest every Sunday, and every day. It isn’t the street, it is the nation.

People are coming out to protest with their small children because they believe they will win.

I also want to address the Russian intelligentsia, to call it by its old name. Why have you remained silent? We hear very few voices supporting us. Why don’t you speak when you can see this proud little nation is being crushed? We are still your brothers.

To my own people, I want to say this: I love you and I am proud of you.

And now there is another unknown person ringing at my door.

Translated by Sasha Dugdale, English PEN.


Уже не осталось никого из моих друзей-единомышленников в Президиуме Координационного Совета. Все или в тюрьме, или выброшены за границу. Сегодня взяли, последним, Максима Знака.

Сначала у нас похитили страну, похищают лучших из нас.  Но вместо вырванных из наших рядов придут сотни других. Восстал не Координационный комитет. Восстала страна. Я хочу повторить то, что говорю всегда. Мы не готовили переворот. Мы хотели не допустить раскола в нашей стране. Мы хотели, чтобы в обществе начался диалог. Лукашенко говорит, что не будет говорить с улицей, а улица – это сотни тысяч людей, которые каждое воскресенье и каждый день выходят на улицу. Это не улица. Это народ.

Люди выходят на улицу со своими маленькими детьми, потому что они верят, что они победят.

Еще я хочу обратиться к русской интеллигенции, назовем это так по-старому обычаю. Почему вы молчите? Мы слышим только редкие голоса в поддержку. Почему вы молчите, когда видите, как растаптывают маленький, гордый народ? Мы все еще ваши братья.

А своему народу я хочу сказать, что я люблю его. Я горжусь им.

Вот опять кто-то неизвестный звонит в дверь…

Belarus: PEN calls for the immediate release of political prisoners

PEN krever umiddelbar løslatelse av politiske fanger i Hviterussland, inkludert journalist Paviel Seviaryniec. 
Journalist and politician Paviel Seviaryniec is in prison. Photo: PEN Belarus.
Søndag 7. august er det valg i Hviterussland. For første gang på mange år har det vært reelle forsøk på å utfordre makten til sittende president Aleksandr Lukashenko. Lukashenko har vært president i Hviterussland i 26 år.
Nå er 24 personer registrert som politiske fanger i Hviterussland. Flere av dem er journalister, forfattere og politikere, og er pågrepet i forbindelse med årets valg.
– Vi er dypt bekymret og kommer til å følge med på presidentvalget søndag. Utviklingen har gått fra vondt til verre i Hviterussland, og situasjonen for ytrings- og pressefrihet er nå veldig alvorlig. Vi ser et sterkt behov for at verdenssamfunnet blir gjort oppmerksom på og reagerer på dette, sier Norsk PENs generalsekretær Hege Newth.

PEN krever umiddelbar løslatelse av politiske fanger i Hviterussland, inkludert journalist Paviel Seviaryniec. Seviaryniec har blitt holdt isolert siden han ble arrestert for to måneder siden. Han har ikke fått snakke med verken advokat eller familie.

Les en uttalelse fra Norsk PEN og 25 andre PEN-sentre her:

PEN International, Belarus PEN and 24 PEN Centres are highly concerned about the systematic violations of the right to freedom of expression and other human rights that are central to democratic participation of political opponents and dissenting voices in the run-up to the presidential elections in Belarus, to take place on 9 August 2020.

“As of today, 24 individuals in Belarus have been recognised as political prisoners,” said President of the Belarusian PEN Centre Sviatlana Aleksievič (Svetlana Alexievich). “Among them are bloggers and journalists, patrons of culture – those who in 2020 awakened the Belarusian society, and for the first time in 26 years create serious competition for the authoritarian regime of Aliaksandr Lukašenka (Alexander Lukashenko). Today, Belarusian writers stand by their people as the story is being written in the streets and squares, not at desks. PEN Belarus demands that the Belarusian authorities release all the political prisoners immediately. We demand respect for free speech and other political rights and express the hope for free and fair election on 9 August in Belarus.”

Since the start of the current election campaign on 6 May until 31 July 2020, 204 political activists, journalists, bloggers and participants in peaceful assemblies have been administratively arrested and received a total of 2,937 days of detention under administrative law provisions commonly used for political persecution, in addition to many others being fined, according to the Viasna Human Rights Center and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. Almost 30 people have faced criminal charges on trumped-up accusations of economic crimes or organising mass unrest. Among them is blogger Siarhej Cichanoŭski (Syarhei Tsikhanouski), who had planned to run for president as a “protest candidate”, as well as other bloggers who supported him. According to credible reports, Cichanoŭski faces inhumane detention conditions.

Also among the political prisoners is journalist and politician Paviel Seviaryniec (Pavel Seviarynets), winner of the 2007 Aleś Adamovič Literary Award and the 2014 Francišak Aliachnovič Award. He was detained near his house after attending a pre-election picket on 7 June 2020, and is now serving several consecutive administrative detention sentences, including on charges of violating the rules pertaining to organising and holding assemblies.

“We are very concerned about the conditions in which Paviel Sieviaryniec and Siarhej Cichanoŭski are being held,” said Salil Tripathi, Chairperson of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International. “For instance, since the arrest of Paviel Sieviaryniec, he has been held in solitary confinement and has not been allowed to see his lawyer or to receive parcels from his family. We are especially alarmed by the credible reports that Seviarynieс is subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment, including sleep deprivation and the denial of basic hygiene needs, adequate clothing and the opportunity to exercise. Seviarynieс must be released unconditionally and without any further delay, and the allegations of his ill-treatment must be promptly and effectively investigated.”

On 18 June, presidential challenger Viktar Babaryka, a philanthropist and former CEO of Belgazprombank, and his son Eduard Babaryka, who headed the cultural crowdsourcing and fundraising platforms Ulej and MolaMola, were also detained. Viktar has been an eminent supporter of the arts and literature in Belarus, and Eduard, through the platforms he led, has been instrumental in providing support to independent cultural projects.

The arrest of presidential challengers and their supporters gave rise to mass protests, in which people have called for an end to the 26-year rule of President Lukašenka, the release of political prisoners, and fair elections. During these protests, several journalists were beaten by members of the security forces and at least 62 journalists have been arrested merely for exercising their profession. For instance, Radio Svaboda journalist Anton Trafimovič had his nose broken during his detention on 15 July; and, a criminal case was filed on charges of organising mass unrest against Ihar Losik, administrator of Telegram channel “Belarus Halaunoha Mozhu” (Belarus of the brain) and a Radio Svaboda consultant, and who has been held in a KGB prison since 25 June.

The repression of dissenting voices is moreover not limited to high profile cases, direct political opponents and journalists, but extends to anyone who voices criticism of the government. For instance, museum guides to musicians, teachers to TV presenters and many other professionals have lost their employment after they criticised the authorities.

“It is clear that, when political opponents are jailed and impeded from standing, when journalists are arrested for reporting on protests and political events, and when ordinary citizens are punished for peacefully expressing their views, free and fair elections are impossible,” said Emmanuel Pierrat, Chairperson of the Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International. “The authorities in Belarus must stop their politically motivated persecution of dissenting voices and allow for the democratic process to run its course unobstructed.”

Signed by:

PEN International
Belarus PEN
Brazil PEN
Czech PEN
Danish PEN
English PEN
Estonian PEN
Ethiopian PEN
French PEN
German PEN
Independent Chinese PEN Centre
New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc
PEN America
PEN Bangladesh
PEN Croatia
PEN Latvia
PEN Netherlands
PEN Norway
PEN Suisse Romand
PEN Turkey
PEN Ukraine
PEN Zimbabwe
Polish PEN
Romanian PEN
San Miguel de Allende PEN
Swedish PEN

PEN Belarus appologize for the regime’s treatment of PEN-delegation

Secretary General in Norwegian PEN Carl Morten Iversen
Norwegian PEN board member William Nygaard
Publisher Trygve Åslund
Danish PEN board member Niels-Ivar Larsen

Respected  friends

Please accept my appologies for the awful behaviour of the Belarusian regime.  By accepting money for your visas and then denying you entry to the country, hold you at the airport without food or water and then kick you out of the country as if you were criminals, the regime has again, for the whole world, demonstrated its brutality and lack of respect for its own citizens and their guests.  And, basically, a lack of respect for human rights.  At the same time this is a demonstration of the regime´s attitude to culture in the broadest possible sense.

Also, with my appologies, I would like to thank you for all you do in order to help the Belarusian culture and literature to resist and survive during these very difficult times for the Belarusian people.  Vi  sense your solidarity and your support, and that gives us the strength to look at the future with more hope.  Even today, when it may seem like the future holds very little hope.  Historically, Belarus is a European country and will remain so, regardless of the efforts the regime is making in order to change the country at its discretion.  I think that, with your help and with support from all Europeans, Belarus will return to Europe.

Again, let me appologize and thank you.

Vladimir Nekljajev
Honorable member of Belarusian PEN, former presidential candidate