Updated at 17:59,18-10-2018

Mothers of Belarusians convicted for marijuana go on unlimited hunger strike

Maryia Vaitovich, Euroradio

Mothers of Belarusians convicted for marijuana go on unlimited hunger strike
Image: Saudi Gazette
The mothers of people convicted for smoking marijuana in Belarus have gone on an unlimited hunger strike, leader of Mothers Movement 328 Larysa Zhyhar told Euroradio. They demand a meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka to discuss the problems of decriminalization of violations connected with soft drugs.

"We have gone on an unlimited hunger strike. Other strikers and supporters are arriving now. They are coming from all over Belarus: Homel, Mahilyou, Zhlobin, Mazyr from everywhere. Four hunger-strikers are here now, Larysa Zhyhar told Euroradio. She is one of the mothers taking part in the hunger strike.

Mothers of Belarusians convicted for marijuana go on unlimited hunger strike

Larysa Zhyhar. Photo: Deutsche Welle

The hunger strike is being held on private territory in a village near Minsk. The hunger strikers tents are installed there. There is a field nearby.



"We are doing it to express our protest because MPs keep promising to reconsider and change the legislation, Larysa Zhyhar said. But not even a single draft of the new law has been prepared in two years since our movement was created. We have got tons of replies beside the point.


What must be done to stop the hunger strike?

"We demand a meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka. We want him to hear our opinion instead of listening to what officials and the MIA say. We will only stop the hunger strike if he or his representatives arrive. Or if they invite us to the discussion of the draft that is going to be adopted this session, Larysa Zhyhar said. Otherwise, we will continue the hunger strike. We do not want any more runarounds. The women will only be drinking water during their hunger strike.

Mothers Movement 328 was created in order to decriminalize violations connected with soft drugs. Article 328 is one of the strictest articles in the Belarusian Criminal Code. It makes no difference between hard and soft drugs and this is the reason why people taking soft drugs are getting imprisoned for very long terms.

The mothers of people imprisoned for smoking marijuana keep stating that the sentences pronounced to their children are unfair and demand to reconsider them. Officials must prove that our children deserve to be imprisoned for 10-15 years. But they are keeping silent because they understand that our children should not be imprisoned for such a long term, Larysa Zhyhar claimed.