Anatol Liabedzka: Our most important weapon is to speak the truth without fear

Which is more, the truth, or the artistic thought in 108 Days and Nights Behind the Walls of the KGB Jail, published on the web, by Anatol Liabedzka, chairman of UCP (United Civic Party)? How society should react to information about the tortures of the political prisoners? About that told to Anatol Liabedzka himself.

Anatol Liabedzka: The book is now available on the Radio Svaboda website, it  is written in the form of a prison diary and contains my records from the time when I was detained in the custody of the KGB, and the ones that I wrote three weeks after leaving the KGB jail.

– How would you describe this book: is this a work of fiction, or more a document?

Anatol Liabedzka: I think that everyone should judge by himself. Once I have been told that it is more a work of fiction, but its content, described events and people are real, these are facts that took place behind bars of KGB detention center after the presidential election.

– Was the publication of the book associated with a risk? Events described by you  are incomprehensible, especially when one realizes that they took place now, in the twenty-first century in the center of Europe.

Anatol Liabedzka: Of course, I had a difficult choice. But what can I do? Often we are faced with choices, sometimes  in small issues, and sometimes in really serious cases. But I am sure that I acted properly. To date, a number of former detainees of  the KGB jail quite carefully recounts their experiences. And I fully understand why. Their words can cause inadequate response by not quite adequate people, whom I have described. Truth should be disclosed. This will increase the chances that similar incidents will not happen again in the future. Or reduce the scale of the phenomenon. Whether it is enough to achieve this goal, it is not known, the time will show. Belarus still carries a real risk, especially for those who are involved in politics.

– Such examples are quite a few, even today, the more that two and a half years after the last presidential election, candidates for this office are still in jails. There are information that tortures are still used in prisons even after the publication of reports on the torture and their exercise behind the walls of prisons.

Anatol Liabedzka: The most important issue today is the fact that among us, Belarusians, lack  solidarity. The most important part of our activity  is focused around the KGB jail. The situation is such that, I think, we should all experience this jail to understand what is really happening in the country. Only then the attitude “none of my business” will disappear,  indifference will vanish and solidarity will appear. We need to speak, write, and inform about it. However, the book does not settle the matter. However, combined efforts of all those who have gone through various prisons, like KBG jail, Okrestina or Volodarka will bring us enormous power. If we break silence and stop talking about it only in four walls, moving the topic to the meetings, press conferences, public awareness campaigns, then it will give much greater results.

– The human rights situation is quite difficult. If one, however, takes a look at the political map, we can see that dictatorships are present in many countries of the world. And there are also political prisoners. However, trading in political prisoners is a phenomenon existing only in the Lukashenka regime. What do you think is a reason of that?

Anatol Liabedzka: It all depends on the formula. I believe that such barter does not exist in the direct  form. However, if you examine the details, you may notice the existence of this phenomenon. Of course, one does not formulate similar agreements in the legal sense, but in reality it is visible how authorities transform people into commodities and trade them. And the international community, unfortunately, has adapted to the game. The game takes place primarily in the political sidelines, where political prisoners are offered in barter transactions. And this is, sadly, a reality. I think the most important thing is to distribute such information, emphasizing such events. People, especially abroad, should be aware of this practice. I think it will help the international community better understand the nature of the Belarusian regime.


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Other political prisoners