Sensational confessions of the ruler were published in the British newspaper The Evening Standard.
Last week Aliaksandr Lukashenka gave an interview to British journalists, in which he mentioned political prisoners, dictatorship and the teddy-bear dropped at Minsk from a plane, Novaya Gazeta reports. One of the newspaper journalist Oliver Poul’s questions was about Iryna Khalip. In May last year she was found guilty of participating in the mass disturbances after the 19 December 2010 elections and sentenced for two year in prison with a postponement of two years. These two years she can’t leave Minsk, has to register herself in the local police department weekly and return home no later than 10 p.m. (she is checked by policemen at least once a week). The term of the postponement runs out on 20 July next year and then the case of Iryna will be sent to the court for the second time. The court will decide to liberate her, send to a prison or leave her in the same status for some more time.
So, Oliver Poul asked Lukashenka why Iryna Khalip couldn’t leave the country. “I know Iryna personally, I’m sure she is not a criminal and I’m ready to vouch for her. Why can’t she, for example, go to visit a doctor in Moscow?”, - he asked.
Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s response was unpredictable:
- Is she here? I thought she was in Moscow. Send her there today with the evening horse. Take her away and never bring her here again. I can’t talk about this person at all. Never use this word in vain. You want her in Moscow – take her there.
- She is under a recognizance not to leave, - the journalist reminded.
- Oh, she is under a recognizance… Andrei, - the ruler addressed one of the subordinates. – Specify, who is responsible for that – someone from police or someone else, and tell me. <…> You see, a dictatorship is also good. Not a single president would make a decision immediately, but I just did. <…> You’ll take Khalip home instead of a wife today.
The conversation took place on 9 October. And on 15 October Iryna as usually came to a police department to register herself and asked if she could really go to Moscow.
- They laughed in the police department and said that if I tried to leave the country I would be immediately proclaimed a wanted person and brought back to Minsk handcuffed, - Iryna says.
- If no one explained Khalip the conditions of her freedom limitation, she should ask once again and they will explain. No changes in the conditions are possible, - confirmed Aliaksandr Kupcheniam the head of the department of supervision and executive activities of the Minsk police department (it is him who follows that Iryna observes the conditions of the postponement), to Novaya Gazeta.
Legally it is very true. The only thing that can change the situation is a personal decree of pardon by Lukashenka. But Iryna is not expecting for it to come.
- Lukashenka is not interested in my release. This summer I was supposed to fall under the amnesty. The inspector from the police department already prepared the documents for my amnesty and we were making joke that we’d part our ways soon. The amnesty was signed by the upper chamber of the parliament, by the lower chamber, and when only the signature of Lukashenka was missing for the pardon to be effective I was told that I didn’t have a right for an amnesty.
It’s not the first time Lukashenka broke his word. In July last year he responded to the statement of the head of the Polish MFA Radoslaw Sikorski, who said that the European Union would offer Belarus support in exchange for the release of political prisoners. He then said that he was ready to send them all to Europe immediately: “We will buy a ticket for them tomorrow and send them away, It’s not a problem. They can take them if they are such patrons of political prisoners”. Naturally, all the political prisoners remained behind bars.
- When I was still in the KGB prison Lukashenka gave an interview to The Washington Post, - Iryna recollects. – The journalist asked him why a mother was separated from a little child and kept under arrest. The ruler said that he didn’t know about that and would necessarily sort it out. And few days before that in the air of the Belarusian television he called me probably the main organizer of the disturbances of 19 December, which must remain in prison.
By the way the video of the interview to The Evening Standard was already shown on the Belarusian television. The words of Aliaksandr Lukashenka about Iryna were cut out.
- I understand Lukashenka’s desire to show off before journalists very well, - she says. – He likes beautiful gestures very much. But journalists leave and a prisoner remains imprisoned.