Loreen chooses opposition, not officials
Loreen, the winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2012 from Sweden, met with Natallia Pinchuk — the wife of imprisoned human right activist Alies Bialiacki. Deputy chairman of human rights centre Viasna Valiancin Stefanovich and independent Belarusian journalists also attended the meeting.
Loreen expressed her support of Mr. Bialiacki and other political prisoners from Belarus and signed a petition against capital punishment.
The Swedish pop star of Moroccan-Berber origin talked with Natallia Pinchuk, Viasna representatives and journalists in the embassy of Sweden for two hours.
She expressed sincere interest in the imprisonment conditions for Alies Bialiacki; the quantity of Belarusian prisoners of conscience; human rights situation in the country; freedom of expression in Belarus and the ‘silent protests’ held last summer.
Loreen learned details about the case of Aliaksandr Bialiacki, asked about the family life after his arrest.
"In 20 days, it will be a year Alies has been imprisoned. The year was a hard one. Now he is in a penal colony in Babrujsk. They created rather harsh moral and psychological conditions for him", Natallia Pinchuk told Loreen.
Loreen called Natallia "very strong woman" on hearing the story:
"Now I understand why Alies loves you… I hope he is going to be released soon; I speak it from my heart. I am sorry such a family was separated: the mother and the son turned to be in different places and the father turned to be in jail. But your struggle is just".
Loreen told she had learned much about Belarus from Swedish human rights activists and from her fans who had contacted her via social networks.
"I was happy to learn there are so many people eager to help, able to help. They just need information on what is happening in Belarus and on how they may help Belarus".
Loreen noted she had not been afraid to come to Belarus. She was born in Morocco, she saw poverty, corruption, violations of human rights, gender inequality. She was mulling over the decision on whether to perform in a country where human rights are not respected or not. However, she took her fans’ stance.
"There are people here who love my music. Not coming would have been disrespect for them. Thus, I came to share what I have. And secondly, I came to show I am a free person. And I do this".
Loreen is the person who shows her unwavering stance on social and political issues thus provoking intense social response. When the singer was in Azerbaijan, she also met with Azerbaijani opposition representatives.