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  • Love behind bars: dozens of Belarusian families in jail “over politics”

    There are at least 1,452 political prisoners in Belarus today, and this number is growing every day. Whole families often find themselves behind bars. Below, you will find stories of imprisoned journalists whose partners ended up in jail, too.

    Daria and Ihar Losik

    Ihar Losik, a jour­nal­ist for RFE/RL Belarus and admin­is­tra­tor of a pop­u­lar protest Telegram chan­nel, was detained on 25 June 2020, even before the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions and mass protests start­ed in Belarus. He met his wife Daria in 2009 on social media. They mar­ried as stu­dents and have a young daugh­ter, Pauli­na.

    When accused of prepar­ing to par­tic­i­pate in mass riots, Ihar Losik went on a 42-day hunger strike in protest.


    Daria joined the strike in sol­i­dar­i­ty with her hus­band. On 14 Decem­ber 2021, Ihar Losik was sen­tenced to 15 years of impris­on­ment. Six months lat­er, the KGB put him on the list of per­sons involved in ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties and the family’s prop­er­ty was sequestered.

    All this time Daria fought for her hus­band, pro­mot­ed his sto­ry in var­i­ous mass media, and even pub­licly chal­lenged Lukashen­ka to orga­nize a con­ver­sa­tion with her. The woman was detained on 18 Octo­ber 2022 when she and her 4‑year-old daugh­ter were still asleep in their home. Accord­ing to pro-regime Telegram chan­nels, Daria is accused of aid­ing extrem­ist activ­i­ties by giv­ing an inter­view to the Bel­sat TV chan­nel in the spring of 2022.

    Iryna Zlobina and Andrei Aliaksandrau

    Andrei Ali­ak­san­drau is a well-known Belaru­sian jour­nal­ist and media man­ag­er. Iry­na Zlobi­na had been run­ning her small busi­ness – the pro­duc­tion of flow­ers and sou­venirs. They were detained on 12 Jan­u­ary 2021 by the Min­istry of Inte­ri­or on charges of financ­ing protest actions, in par­tic­u­lar for pay­ing fines imposed on pro­test­ers. Ali­ak­san­drau was addi­tion­al­ly charged with high trea­son and par­tic­i­pa­tion in an extrem­ist for­ma­tion (Bela­PAN media agency). On 1 Sep­tem­ber 2022, Iry­na and Andrei got mar­ried in a pre-tri­al deten­tion facil­i­ty.

    The tri­al in the “Bela­PAN case” start­ed on 6 June 2022 and last­ed for four months. On 6 Octo­ber Min­sk Region­al Court announced the ver­dict: Andrei was sen­tenced to 14 years of impris­on­ment, Iry­na – to 9 years of impris­on­ment.

    Sniazhana Inanets and Aliaksandr Lychauka

    Ali­ak­san­dr Lychau­ka is a local his­to­ri­an and jour­nal­ist from Min­sk. Sni­azhana Inanets is a jour­nal­ist who pre­vi­ous­ly worked with TUT.by and Onliner.by media out­lets. She authored texts on local his­to­ry and cul­tur­al top­ics. On 6 Octo­ber 2022, the cou­ple was detained; the next day their “repen­tant” video was post­ed on a pro-regime Telegram chan­nel. The video said that they had been detained for fol­low­ing Telegram chan­nels declared extrem­ist by the Belaru­sian author­i­ties, as well as for par­tic­i­pat­ing in protest march­es in 2020.

    Palina Palavinka and Dzmitry Luksha

    Dzmit­ry Luk­sha is a jour­nal­ist who used to work for the Nation­al State TV and Radio Com­pa­ny of the Repub­lic of Belarus and host­ed Zone X show. He was detained after a search of his apart­ment in Min­sk on 11 March 2022. At that time, Dzmit­ry was a free­lance cor­re­spon­dent of the Kaza­kh TV chan­nel Khabar 24, and the rea­son for his deten­tion was his last cov­er­age on the chan­nel. His wife Pali­na Palavin­ka was arrest­ed lat­er – on 2 June 2022.

    Accord­ing to the indict­ment, Luk­sha, with the help of a cam­era­man, shot a series of videos con­tain­ing false infor­ma­tion intend­ing to dis­cred­it Belarus. On 2 Decem­ber, he was sen­tenced to four years of impris­on­ment. Pali­na got 2.5 years in prison.

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