Mikalai Statkevich: "I do not aspire to be a hero, but I want to be a decent man”
On May 16, Bialyničy journalist Barys Vyrvich received a letter from political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich who is held in the Mahilioŭ-based prison No. 4. In his letter, the former presidential candidate told about the conditions of his detention at the new place of imprisonment.
In particular, the political prisoner writes:
“But now I’m back in the Mahilioŭ prison, where I was sent by the court until the end of the term, and writing here is much handier. So I’m going to answer all the letters.
The fact I am in prison again was expected from the very start. Apparently, someone thought that the colony was not able to convince me to write the petition. In fact, although the colony is an unpleasant, difficult and depressing place, but there is nothing shocking there. Very reminiscent of the army - the same barracks (only without weapons), lockstepping and so on. Only there’s work instead of military training. Meanwhile, prison is a serious test for one’s physical and mental health because of the permanent staying in a confined space. Well, two locked prisons in a row are assigned to the most dangerous and recalcitrant prisoner and aims to break them physically and mentally. I hope to survive, but do know only one thing – they will not force me betray. I do not aspire to be a hero, but I want to remain a decent human being. Unfortunately, in this country, it can cost quite expensive. I am willing to pay.
I decided to be alone, as all the official means of pressure (punishment cell, cell-type premises, hard work) have been repeatedly tested on me. There are only the unofficial ones left - through specially selected inmates. It is not particularly scary - I myself can pressure people. But I do not want to constantly monitor the behavior of my neighbors. Tired of it.
Haven’t seen any newspapers since April. The only source of information here is the 1st channel of the Belarusian radio from the loudspeaker in the cell...”
The letter was received on May 10. According to Barys Vyrvich, the letter suggests that in April, during his stay in Škloŭ, the political prisoner did not receive all the letters. Mikalai Statkevich also wrote about his last weeks in the colony, saying that he was “in the punishment cell in late March, and then in cell-type premises, where writing for a long time is not very comfortable – it is the dark and there is no place to sit at all”. He also shared his thoughts on the plans concerning the forthcoming election and the state of opposition organizations.