7 days in jail for protest against Zapad-2017: Belarus poet released

On September 15, a Minsk court took administrative action against ex-presidential candidate and one of the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress (BNC) Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu.

The politician was tried by the judge Maryna Fyodarava. He was brought to court by plainclothes people.

The famous Belarusian poet was sentenced to 7 days in prison for participation in the rally against the Russian-Belarusian military drill Zapad-2017. The participants were protesting against ‘occupation from the inside’ and external aggression.

On Friday morming, Nyaklyayeu was released. He was met near the Minsk predetention centre by family and friends, including politician Ales Lahvinets and activists Pavel Vinahradau and Volha Nikalaichyk. Over the last seven days, the poet was barred from writing by prison wards.

“Life is made up of very simple things: food, home, family. But it is not enough for me, I am not a human being who just eats and sleeps. I cannot stand when I am bullied and humiliated. The country we live in is not a normal country. Look: while we are standing here, paddy wagons are driving in. They are carrying new arrestees because our police have to fulfil a plan set by the authorities. We need something to be changed in the country. I am urging you to be Belarusians and be citizens,” Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu told Belsat TV.