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On Tuesday, June 25, please join Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Freedom House for a virtual, on-the-record discussion about the crisis of political imprisonment and incommunicado detention in Belarus.

The event will begin with brief remarks from Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and U.S. Representative Steve Cohen and feature a panel discussion focused on the current crisis of political imprisonment in Belarus and the use of inhumane tactics such as incommunicado detention. Speakers include Hanna Liubakova, journalist and Nonresident Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Experts will explore recommendations for advocates and policymakers on how to improve conditions for political prisoners and advance their release.

A political prisoner’s worst fear is to be forgotten. The thought of being abandoned by the international community, left to endure an unfair sentence without recognition or support, can be more painful than the physical conditions of confinement.

In Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s Belarus, the challenge of remembering and advocating for political prisoners is particularly acute. Nearly four years after a fraudulent election and the brutal crackdown on those peacefully protesting the outcome, the Lukashenka regime continues its relentless repression of innocent Belarusians. Since summer 2020, close to 3,150 people were recognized as political prisoners and nearly 1,400 are currently behind bars, including journalists, human rights defenders, opposition politicians, peaceful protesters, and many others.

Lukashenka’s regime is increasingly resorting to the deplorable practice of incommunicado detention to isolate political prisoners, depriving them of contact with the outside world, including family, friends, and legal representatives. This sinister tactic inflicts severe psychological distress on detainees while also obstructing efforts to document their cases and seek justice. Political prisoners currently being held incommunicado in Belarus include RFE/RL journalist Ihar Losik, political activist Maria Kalesnikava, 2020 presidential candidates Viktar Babaryka and Siarhei Tsikhanouski, and long-time opposition politician Mikalai Statkevich.

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