Paval Sieviaryniec, co-chairman of Belarusian Christian Democracy party, told in an interview to Belarusian Partisan, why Lukashenka kidnapped as a hostage Catholic priest Uladzislau Lazar, and called on the clergy to join the campaign of collecting signatures for a petition calling for the release of the priest.
After the case of Andrej Hajdukov no one does believe in the spy investigations of KGB. It is obvious to everyone. After explosions in metro and counterterrorism trials everyone knows that if the process is closed, it is not fair or there is pressure exerted on a public opinion. I think in this particular case, we have both these factors. The silence of the church is somewhat surprising. Of course, it is more diplomatic to be silent when we are dealing with the criminal trial, but here we are dealing with the regime. Church leaders know that the priest is innocent – said Paval Sieviaryniec, who himself is a political prisoner.
Mr. Sieviaryniec believes that in case of priest Lazar, the authorities could use house arrest and a ban on leaving the place of residence, but not an immediate arrest.
–Signatures must be gathered, both in electronic form and in churches. The public opinion should demand to release priest Lazar. I hope that the church will intervene, as many priests in Belarus are wondering what will happen if something similar happens to them. Here it is necessary to express solidarity and support the request for unconditional release of the priest. I think that he is another hostage. Will he be needed to talk with the West, or to put pressure on the Vatican, it does not matter. And let the representatives of other religions and social groups do not think it concerns only the catholic church – said the leader of BCD.
When asked what would happen to priest Lazar in the near future, Mr. Sieviaryniec said that the regime already has experience in the detention of the hostages: What happened to Lazar is the next level of the process. The idea is to grab the priest, the man associated with the organization that does not belong to state; to which belongs according to various estimates, from one million to one and a half million members in Belarus. Lukashenko will not give up in this case. The method is coarse, but effective in this case.Until Lukashenko is stopped he will continue to do what he does. And he can only be stopped by the Belarusian people, with God’s help. Therefore, I believe that if in the tens and hundreds of parishes people will gather signatures for the release of Father Lazar, such a campaign will not be ignored even by Lukashenko. He’ll have to release the priest without putting any conditions. I think that if all bishops have started to collect signatures, or support such an action, the matter would be resolved within a few days.
Paval Sieviaryniec confirmed that the BCD party began collecting signatures in front of the churches, and calls on all Catholics to join in on the action, or to take to the streets to collect signatures under the demand to release Father Lazar. The petition was signed by more than 1,000 people.