"Arche" editor arrested in Minsk

At 10 am on Tuesday 21 March, well-known Belarusian publicist Andrej Dynko was arrested, together with a number of other supporters of the opposition candidate Aliaksandr Milinkevich. Dynko has been sentenced to ten days in prison for “hooliganism”.

Dynko is the editor of the important oppositional newspaper Nasha Niva and the vice editor-in-chief of the cultural journal Arche, Eurozine’s Belarusian partner journal.

The publicist, essayist, and journalist was arrested while trying to bring food to demonstrators on October Square in the centre of the capital Minsk, according to the radio station Svoboda. Following the example of the Orange Revolution, supporters of the opposition have been occupying the “Belarusian Maidan” for days. Dynko was followed into a bus by two plain clothes police officers, where they arrested him. According to the police, Dynko was on his way to the square and was using “bad language”.

The opposition estimates that more than 100 demonstrators have been arrested by police after leaving the camp on October Square.

“Lukashenko’s regime could turn out to be an historic opportunity for Belarus finally to come together as a nation, in opposition to this regime built on lies and hollow state ideology,” Dynko is quoted as saying in Le Monde diplomatique. Ukraine and Belarus are nations that have still to be completed, he says, a process that will also bring about democratization. His article “Between brotherly Russia and peaceful Europe” is among the articles published in Eurozine in the build-up to the Belarusian elections.

We appeal urgently to our partners to do everything they can to ensure the safety and freedom of Andrej Dynko. Publicizing the case in your journals and on your websites in whatever way you can is vital – the arrests are piling up.

Update: Thursday 23.03.2006, 11.15
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung has reported that three further Belarusian journalists and one Ukrainian were issued with on-the-spot ten-day prison sentences, among them Eurozine author Yuri Chavusau.

Update: Friday 24.03.2006, 11.00
NGO worker Aleh Zhlutka was arrested at the beginning of this week and issued with an on-the-spot fifteen-day prison sentence, report the editors of Arche. Aleh Zhlutka has translated a number of Arche‘s articles for Eurozine.

Update: Monday 27.03.2006, 15.00
“Today it was about Dynko. Tomorrow it will be about you”, writes Arche editor Valer Bulhakau in the current edition of opposition newspaper Nasha Niva (English version in Transitions Online‘s blog). First it was opposition politicians, then it was journalists and intellectuals, now it’s people speaking Belarusian: the “assembly-line” of arrest-court-jail has been launched and the space of freedom narrowed even further, writes Bulhakau. “We paid for Lukashenko’s victory in 2001 with the destruction of the Belarusian National Humanities Lyceum, the mass closure of the independent press, and the introduction of a nasty ideology. For Lukashenko’s victory in 2006, we will pay with our health and our futures, both our own and our children’s.”

Update: Saturday 01.04.2006, 23.30
On Friday, 31 March, Andrej Dynko was released from prison, having served his ten-day sentence. Eurozine publishes his prison diary.

Published 22 March 2006
Original in English

© Eurozine


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