The terms of Viktar Babaryka’s release, nine hours without water and food

Liliya Vlasova told about the meeting in the pre-trial detention center of the Committee for State Security

30 October 2020, 22:05 | Radio Free Europe
On 10 October Alexander Lukashenko met the political prisoners in the Committee for State Security pre-trial detention center.
Liliya Vlasova is near Viktar Babaryka. Source: Radio Free Europe

In the interview to the Russian TV channel “Dozhd” a member of the Coordination Council Liliya Vlasova told about the details of the meeting with Alexander Lukashenko in the pre-trial detention center of the Committee for State Security and about the terms of the arrest. 

Source: Dozhd

There was an agreement on the privacy of the conversation. However, as the other participants told about it in the mass media, Liliya Vlasova decided to speak up. We made the main quotations from the conversation: 

I thought that it was a look-a-like, not Lukashenko 

At first I didn’t believe that it was Alexander Lukashenko, that it was the president who visited us. I thought that it was a look-a-like, a joke. In 10 minutes we all began to come around and understood that it was the president and those who followed him. It was clear that something extraordinary happened. 

What he told about the Constitution 

Alexander Lukashenko claimed that he wanted to discuss a new constitution and to listen to us in that regard. However, nobody was ready to speak. Viktar Babaryka told about the fundamental principles – private ownership and separation of powers. Lukashenko began to comment on them, and spoke against private ownership. I remember that he talked about the two-term limit of the presidency, and he said that he wouldn’t participate in the following elections and that he needed time for reforms. The reforms would be initiated, the Constitution would be approved, and new elections would be organized. At first he said that everything would happen in two years, then – next summer. 

Lukashenko promised to continue the “dialogue” in the Palace of Independence 

Lukashenko demonstrated neither empathy, nor negative emotions. He said: “I see that you love Belarus as I do”. At the end of the conversation he said that next time he would invite us to the Palace of Independence to continue the dialogue. 

They didn’t give us water and food 

The conversation lasted 4.5 hours. The political prisoners were speaking for 30-40 minutes, Lukashenko – for the rest of time. At the end of the conversation I almost lost consciousness. I was delivered to the Committee for State Security at 6:30 a.m., I didn’t drink a drop of water and didn’t eat at all. The conversation ended at 3:30 p.m. Mycolleagues felt the same with others… All needed the toilet. There was no water. Lukashenko’s wibes are very strong, it was a harsh back-breaking trial for people racked by prison. 

About the terms of Babaryka’s release 

I hope that they will release people from prison. However, I have an impression that not all of them will be released. Specific conditions were announced for Viktar Babaryka. Probably I may not talk about them. I suppose that soon they will release Maksim Znak, but Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Maria Kalesnikava and Vikrar Babaryka are more likely to remain imprisoned. Maksim Znak created the project of the Constitution, left his comments. 

About the severe conditions in prison 

Liliya Vlasova before being arrested. 
Source: Radio Free Europe

My health has deteriorated for 1.5 months. I try to recover and have started treatment. Headache still hasn’t passed. The Belarusian prison is a severe place. I spent the last three weeks in the cell among ten prisoners. It was a small room where everybody smoked. I didn’t smoke and suffered a lot. There were unbearable conditions. I was sick at heart – the women cried, argued and sometimes even fought. It was important to keep the balance. Being a mediator and familiar with psychology, I could help people and calm them down.

There is a total mess in prisons. Jail terms are not congruent with the actions of imprisoners. I didn’t understand what I was arrested for. I hadn’t violated anything. Your trouble adds up to the others’ troubles, the others’ troubles add up to your own ones, you dive into pain and negative emotions. Your only thought is: “Hold on!”. Even when the pressure ran high I tried to keep common sense. Being 67 year-old I faced the greatest stress.