The Belarusian opposition activist Viktar Babaryka works in a penal colony as a smoker, his lawyer said. A candidate for last year’s presidential elections was sentenced in July to 14 years in prison for “accepting a bribe.”
Wiktar Babaryka’s lawyer, Natalia Mackiewicz, wrote after a meeting with her client that the oppositionist in the penal colony “adds to the oven in the bakery, he is a smoker”.
Mackiewicz said in a short report that she “had to wait seriously (long – ed.)”. As she wrote, the former banker Babaryka does not leave his sense of humor and said that “he did not manage to establish a ZK-bank (zek – prisoner), so he changed his profession”.
“My professional successes are recorded on video” – Babaryka said.
The former banker is serving his sentence in a penal colony in Nowopołock.
A court in Minsk sentenced Babaryka to 14 years in prison
On July 6, the Belarusian Supreme Court he sentenced Babaryka to 14 years in prison for accepting a large-size bribe and money laundering. He was also accused of creating a criminal group from the managers of Belhazprambank, of which he was president.
Babaryka pleaded not guilty. He is considered a political prisoner.
Lukashenka’s would-be rival
Babaryka announced in May last year that he was going to run in the presidential election. His campaign was launched with unexpected impetus and it soon became clear that the potential candidate enjoys great support and – according to commentators – could really threaten Lukashenka, who wants to maintain power. In June, the former banker was arrested.
The Central Election Commission did not approve his candidacy in the presidential election. Instead of Babaryka, Svetlana Cichanouska became the main opponent of Lukashenka. The woman announced her participation in the race after the arrest of her husband – a well-known blogger and pro-democracy activist Siarhej Cichanouski.
The official results of the August elections, which gave Lukashenka 80.1 percent. votes, they provoked months of mass protests in Belarusto which the authorities responded with unprecedented repression.
In addition to Babaryka, many members of his election staff were detained and arrested with serious charges. They were all considered political prisoners.
Main photo source: Shutterstock