Only tougher sanctions can help free people, former political prisoner says

As of February 10, there were 1,442 recognized political prisoners in Belarus /
As of February 10, there were 1,442 recognized political prisoners in Belarus /

One can secure the release of political prisoners in Belarus only by tightening sanctions, blogger, host of YouTube channel "People's Reporter", former political prisoner Aliaksandr Kabanau said during an interview at Euroradio's studio in Warsaw.

We have learned from him why trading political prisoners is a bad idea and what they think about the options for release.


Aliaksandr Kabanau was sentenced in Belarus to three years in prison, accused of organizing and preparing actions that grossly violated public order or actively participating in them, as well as insulting a representative of the authorities. He was released on December 17, 2022, having served his sentence in full. Aliaksandr says that everyone in prison, of course, lives the dream of getting out as soon as possible, but it will not happen as a result of negotiations and the lifting of sanctions.

"I do not think it will happen. The sanctions are not imposed on Belarus because of political [prisoners - Euroradio]. Not because people are in prison. That is why they will not be lifted. And I understand very well the people who wrote this letter [an appeal by relatives of political prisoners to world politicians for help - Euroradio], but it won't make any difference.

Secondly, the money. This is a purely moral aspect. It means that in Belarus we are opening a shop of human trafficking. Why not make money in case of budget problems? Let's arrest another 200-300 people and sell them. So I don't think it will work. And I don't think anyone would even negotiate about it. I'm not sure that there are people who would be willing to come to Lukashenka and say: Look, we've brought you three suitcases of money, let the people out. None of the European politicians are going to do that.

Kabanau is convinced that the only way to help the political prisoners is to tighten the sanctions.

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