Christian activist Belarus not allowed to meet family; jailed again


Eastern Europe


Photo Twitter, @ch_vision_by

An imprisoned Christian political activist was supposed to be reunited with his family on Tuesday. However, Belarusian authorities unexpectedly arrested him again.

The 41-year-old Dzmitry Dashkevich was supposed to leave his cell on Tuesday after serving one and a half years in prison for attending a protest in August 2020. However, when his wife went to greet him, Mr. Dashkevich was imprisoned once again. His wife, Nasta, posted this on her Facebook page. "I do not know what to say to the children waiting for their father to return home."

Mr. Dashkevich, a Protestant, has been active in politics since 2006 when he supported a presidential candidate against Alexandr Lukashenko. Since then, Mr. Dashkevich has been arrested and imprisoned various times. In 2020, he and his wife were arrested after attending a protest. While his wife was sentenced to stay at home for three years, Mr. Dashkevich was sentenced to three years in a penal colony.

Before the trial started, Ms Dashkevich was pregnant with their fourth child. According to Christian Vision for Belarus, the couple was threatened that their three children would be taken from them and that Ms. Dashkevich had to give birth in prison. However, that did not happen; the child was born a month premature before the trial started. However, due to his detention before the trial and his sentencing at the trial, Mr. Dashkevich still has not had an opportunity to meet his newborn son.

Meeting his son seemed a possibility on Tuesday. Still, the Belarusian authorities unexpectedly brought a new criminal case against Mr. Dashkevich, accusing him of disobeying the administration of the colony he was imprisoned in. His wife had to return without him to their four little children, as Christian Vision for Belarus reports.

A week before his detention in 2020, Zmitser Dashkevich wrote on Facebook: “For me, staying in Belarus is the most difficult daily decision. (...) I don't want heroism. I just want to carry my cross."



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