Updated at 19:56,22-01-2021

Minsk hockey championship 'hostages' go at large (video)

Siarhei Skulavets, Belsat

Four persons were freed on May, 28, but four are still behind bars. Dozens of activists were sentenced to up to 25 days of arrests in the run-up and during the hockey championship. Even now, when the event is over, policemen prevent relatives and friends from meeting the released people.

English subs:

In the course of the championship these activists turned into 'petty misdemeanants'. According to police officers, they resisted arrest. Courts found 37 men guilty without throwing discredit on policemen's evidence.

SIARHEI KAZAKOU, European Belarus civil campaign:

The policemen who had detained me were witnesses in court. They were sight-reading their evidence. As for my words, the court left them out of consideration. The hearing did not take long, it lasted only 10 minutes, but resulted in my spending 20 days under arrest.

According to the recent detainees, hundreds of people were detained and thrown into prison. The authorities seemed to isolate all the people who could poison the pleasure at the championship. This happened to Aliaksandr Arlou.

The impression is that they grabbed us according to some list. I think Aliaksandr was at the bottom of the list. He might have been detained because they failed to find any other activists, civil or political. In general. Aliaksandr never described himself as a political activist.

Days in prison are joyless; imprisonment is not only deprivation of freedom but trying time as well.

LEANID KULAKOU, European Belarus civil campaign:
There was only hot water, a water pipe was torn. Water drops from the ceiling and walls. Moreover, the ceiling is mouldy, which increases the risk of tuberculosis. There was no supply tank in the loo.

And after all these things, when the activists were released, the police were throwing obstacles to people meeting them near the entrance to the detention centre.

YULIYA STSIAPANAVA, European Belarus civil campaign:
They started to take people out of the detention centre befor release, which six persons have already experienced.

Eight political prisoners are still behind bars in Belarus. Both foreign and Belarusian human rights defenders regards their confinement conditions as 'critical'.