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The question of assistance within the framework of the Marathon of Solidarity. How to apply for help?

It is important to understand that the Solidarity Marathon is not a separate queue or a new payment. The money from the Marathon will be distributed to relevant initiatives and organizations that provide targeted assistance on a regular basis. At any time (not just before or after the marathon), you can contact:
- in dissidentby for support within the framework of the collection of transfers (to a pre-trial detention center / colony);
- to the "Country for Life" Fund for a one-time payment;
- to the BYSOL Foundation for a one-time payment or an anonymous fee for a larger amount;
- to the Littouwin Foundation for help with paying for medical parcels and transfers.

In addition, there is psychological and legal support .
Perhaps for some, a distributed and horizontal system looks more complicated, but it allows you to respond faster to specific requests, reduce the number of bureaucratic procedures and cover as many requests as possible from those in need of support. Whatever organization you write to, they will be able to help you or direct you to the necessary initiative.

"In relation to 4892 people, we recorded criminal prosecution on 07/14/2023" What do you mean? Is this the total number of those who have been criminally prosecuted for political reasons over a certain period, for example, since 2020, or are we talking about people who are now being prosecuted for political reasons, but they have not been taken into custody?

The total number of recorded persecution today is the names and surnames of people known to us, against whom a criminal case has been initiated. This figure includes the current number of political prisoners ( who are known to us ), as well as other prisoners convicted for political reasons under criminal articles. In addition, these are people who have already served their term in whole or in part, forced to leave Belarus before their detention or before the sentence comes into force, as well as a large number of people with the status " unknown ".

Unknown status - this means that we know about the initiation of a criminal case from public sources (schedule of court hearings, pro-government videos, etc.), but we do not know the whereabouts of a person, the results of the trial, or we do not have information about a change in status (for example, about termination of prosecution).

As information comes in from other former prisoners, we update the data we have.

Hello. My friend had a trial today. How can I find out where he will serve time? He has no contact with his relatives. Just send a letter to a person. No matter where I call, no one says anything.

Hello. Unfortunately, the only way to find out a sentence under criminal articles is to attend a court session or establish contact with loved ones who can share it with you. If we or other human rights organizations have information about the verdict, it will be displayed on the site. If it is not, then we also do not own the information.

You can send a letter to the old address, because. after the verdict, the person is still in jail. Moreover, if he appeals against the court decision (files an appeal), then he will stay in the pre-trial detention center for another 2-3 months before the sentence comes into force . Therefore, do not worry in advance, because. relatives may also not have information about the place of further punishment. Check the address of the prisoner before sending on our website .

I live. How can you dpamagat palіtvyaznyam, kab not bakіdatsya slyadoў i maximum bespechna for yourself? Mae tavarishy, yakіya ў Belarusi, bajatstsa svjatstіtsі kartі, rabіts neikіya peravody, ale, zdaetstsa, some people dapamagatsya ready and want. Why would you muggle couple?

Dapamagat majlіva ў any minds, nawat znakhodzyachysya ў Belarus. With swaygo to the side, we are working on offensive tools:

  • Write a list of rights on our website (for a getag, a non-abbreviated package is given to your own right name and address);
  • Adguknuzza on request ab dapamoze praz section "Ab'yaўlennі" tsі pr "Dapamogu sem'yam" (for a getag , you don't need to transfer pennies from the card tsі reveal your own identity, dastatkova metz telegram-akaunt);
  • Transferring pennies to asabisty rahunak knitting, yakі znahodzitsa ў SIZA i not may prysudu (i prysud not nabyў mots). For the shepherd "grasovy peralik" it is not necessary to give a pile of personal dadzens according to the laws of " Abbarone personal dadzens ", there you can write any kind of dadzeny in the column "Adpraunik". Pry getym, kali chalavek budze peravedzeny ў іnshae SІZA qi are called, these pennies will follow him and be a pit handed on the hands of a judge. Zvyarnitse ўvagu, that kali chalavek adbyvae pakaranne, then only svayak can give pennies. Where you don’t know, to whom the pennies are given, on the site there is a clear filter, where you can choose only knitting, which is not asudzil.

You can also access non-essential information using our Telegram bot .

Hello, I want to transfer money to friends in prison from abroad. How can I do it?

Unfortunately, money transfer from foreign cards is not possible. You can make a transfer only from Belarusian cards (transfers can be made to all SIZOs, except for SIZO-1, Minsk). In order to help a particular person, you can contact us via social media or by leaving a request for help on the page of a particular person. If we have a contact of the relatives, we will contact you directly and then you will be able to support the prisoner. 

What is the procedure for receiving letters for prisoners and how can the sender protect themself?

Any letter received by a correctional institution (IU) or a pre-trial detention center (SIZO) is subject to checking by local censors. Therefore, you should remember that you should not discuss the details of the criminal case (especially other persons concerned), criticize government officials or react sharply to political events, and use obscene language in the letter. Always keep in mind that the letters here are not private, they are read by other people (censors, and sometimes operations officers). Therefore, form your letter based on these circumstances. Do not give details of your life if you do not want this information to be used by someone.

If the letter was sent in the usual way or in a first-class envelope, then after being checked by a censor, it gets to the prisoner (the administration staff brings letters to the person in the cell). If you sent a letter by registered mail, then usually a person is called to an office to get this letter. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that the prisoner will receive the letter. The letter can be destroyed at the checking stage or in front of the person. It is done for additional pressure.

To protect yourself when sending a letter, you can use the addresses of relatives or acquaintances (a non-existent address), as well as a fictitious first and last name. But in this case, you should understand that the response will come to the address specified when sending. 

If you have the contacts of the relatives (or have the opportunity to find them), then you can send letters through them. 

I want to come to the court hearing to support the person. Can I be detained for some reason, if so, how should I prepare and act in such a situation so as not to end up in the dock myself?

The decision to support the person at their court hearing with your presence is important for the prisoner! There are two types of hearing: open and closed. Only relatives or witnesses in a criminal case are allowed to attend a closed hearing. Anyone can come to an open one in accordance with the Article 23 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus.

BUT it should be taken into account that there is a total legal collapse in Belarus, so it is better to prepare even for attending an open court hearing: 
- inform your loved ones where and at what time you will be
- instruct your loved ones where to report in case you do not answer their calls (to human rights organizations for assistance)
- take your passport to the court
- do not bring anything unnecessary to the court (stickers, business cards, notebooks with important notes, valuables, piercing and cutting objects, and so on). Take only the most necessary items
- make sure that there is a password on your phone and sensitive information which can harm you is not stored there.

Therefore, going to a hearing, first of all take care about your safety. If you know you are at risk, avoid visiting the court and support the person in another way.

The trial has finished, but the information about the imprisoned person has not been updated. What does it mean?

It often happens that human rights defenders receive information about upcoming trials from open sources (publications on state-owned channels, official websites of judicial institutions, mass media). Due to the intensity of persecution and pressure on volunteers and observers, it is not always possible to attend a court hearing and record its progress, including the verdict. 

We try to promptly publish all incoming information about transfers and sentences. If there is no information yet, then we do not have the results of the trial at the moment. If you know how to find relatives or you have any additional information about a person, we will be glad if you send it to us.

I have been released recently, and I am experiencing financial difficulties. Is there any way to get some support?

Hello! Please write to someone from our team using the contacts in the description of our Telegram channel

To receive financial assistance for released political prisoners, you can also fill out this form. If you need medical help, then use this link. If you need psychological help, do not hesitate to contact the Psychological Help Center Daver. To get a regular grocery basket, contact Ineedhelp initiative.

We will be glad if you contact our team; we will be able to discuss your individual needs in order to provide the necessary assistance.

Can I give a care package to an imprisoned person if I'm not a relative?

You should remember that there is a weight limit for care packages. So, a person whose sentence has not entered into force (after the consideration of the appeal) can receive up to 50 kg. Therefore, it is possible to bring the care package to the detention facility if you are sure that the person does not receive support. If they have relatives who take care of them, then it is necessary to coordinate your care packages with the relatives in order not to deprive a person of necessary items.

But you can send a small parcel to the person! The weight of the parcel is usually not included in the total weight, so you will not cause inconvenience to relatives, but will be able to make something nice for a political prisoner. 

Where can I send parcels and care packages? 
- SIZO-1 (Minsk), SIZO-2 (Vitebsk), SIZO-3 (Gomel), Turma-4 (Mogilev), Turma-8 (Zhodino), Turma-1 (Grodno), SIZO-5 (Bobruisk). For SIZO-7 (Brest) and SIZO-6 (Baranovichi) it is necessary to coordinate your actions with relatives because parcels are included in the total weight (!).

Try to send small parcels (up to 3-4 kg) with non-perishable items. Usually, prisoners are happy to receive coffee, tea, chocolate, sweets, nuts, cigarettes, and other small things. They are never in abundance! You can also send them envelopes that can be mailed throughout Belarus. 

You should also remember that in accordance with the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, convicts have the right to receive parcels, packages, and money transfers only from close relatives, and with the permission of the administration (if another person is included in the personal file) of the correctional institution from other persons. 

A detailed manual on care packages can be found here.

I don't want to provide information to human rights centers because I hope for a more favorable outcome. Does it make sense?

Unfortunately, not talking of criminal prosecution only makes it worse for the person being persecuted. Because of this, the person is in complete isolation because they do not receive letters with words of support from other people, small parcels or care packages, they are not on the lists of political prisoners, their portrait is not present at solidarity actions around the world. In addition, their family cannot receive the necessary support. 

If the persecution has a political nature, then the verdict will definitely be biased against the persecuted. Silence only plays into the hands of the prosecution authorities because it allows them to influence a person on a psychological level ("No one needs you ", "No one supports you", "What you did is useless", and so on), convincing a person of the insignificance of their actions when expressing their civic position and forcing them to plea guilty / confess / rat their friends and comrades out. In addition, silence allows them to hide the facts of violations of the rights of the persecuted person both at the investigation stage and at the trial stage. 

We would advise the relatives and friends of the person not to be guided by the fear that punitive authorities can instill, or the hope of a favorable outcome (law enforcement officers can also ingratiate themselves saying that they "mean well ". But if they really meant well, they would refuse to persecute and repress a person for political reasons). The verdict for your loved one is already known in advance, so please do not deprive them of the opportunity to receive the necessary support from civil society and human rights organizations. 

My loved one faced violence during detention (torture, violence, psychological pressure). What should I do and how to avoid this in the future?

If you or your loved one have become a victim of torture or inhuman treatment, be sure to document what happened: 

1. Contact human rights organizations to tell them in detail on the record (audio or video) about what happened to you or the actions you witnessed. Try to remember and clarify as many details as possible. This is important in order to use all possible mechanisms to provide legal assistance in such a case;

2. Submit your report to the district department of the Investigative Committee or the Investigative Committee of your city, pass an interview with an investigator, who must issue a referral for a forensic medical examination. If the victim is in the hospital, you can send an electronic appeal through the website of the Investigative Committee, then the investigator will have to come to the victim of torture and ill-treatment for the interview. If the person who suffered from violence is in custody, call a lawyer to file the necessary complaints;

3. If you are not ready to contact the Investigative Committee, then you can independently undergo a medical examination at the clinic at the place of your registration or at a private medical center. Such an examination is not considered official and has no legal force, however, a doctor will record the injuries and the state of your health. In any case, contact human rights organizations to document torture. During your interview, you will talk to trained specialists and a psychologist. You can contact Committee for the Investigation of Torture in Belarus.

4. Independent documentation should be carried out by you as soon as possible and consists of:

    • taking a picture of the injuries,
    • making  an audio or video recording of important information: the date, time, and и location of the incident, the data of persons involved in the abuse, the data on witnesses, your condition and well-being;
    • saving a copy of medical documents after passing the examination;
    • saving the clothes you were wearing at the time of the incident.

Learn more about documenting the accident on your own in a brochure.

If a person is in custody, be sure to record all evidence of torture through a lawyer. If you have notarized power of attorney (in order to obtain notarized power of attorney, it is necessary to send a lawyer to the place of detention/imprisonment of the person to sign the necessary documents), you will be able to file complaints yourself on behalf of the imprisoned person. 

Do not ignore the torture, inhuman treatment, and violation of human rights during detention and in custody. Documenting and publicizing will help to contact international bodies (UN special rapporteurs, the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, EU structures) and to be able to counteract the recurrence of such events. To understand the importance of documenting torture you can watch a series of videos on YouTube from an educational project DOCUMENT.

If you need a psychologist: 
- Psychological help line for women from the Belarusian Women's Foundation:
- Website with free psychologists, including specialists who work with survivors of torture and ill-treatment
- DAVER, free psychological assistance to Belarusians 2020.

My relative was detained and faces criminal charges. What should I do?

The very first step is to start looking for the person right away. Do not wait for news from law enforcement officers. In the first hours and days of detention, the police forces out a confession which later becomes the basis for the charges. Therefore, the person needs timely legal assistance and support.

Phone numbers of TsIP and IVS detention facilities, police departments and courts of Minsk (if the case is turns out to be administrative and the person receives administrative arrest) can be found if you follow the link. A hint: first of all, it is worth looking for the person in the district police department at the place of residence. Phone numbers of police stations in other cities of Belarus can be found here. If you could not get any information by phone, visit the police station and leave a missing person report in a free form describing all the known circumstances. They will be required to inform you about the whereabouts of the detainee as soon as possible. 

Next, find a lawyer who you will be able to get you the access to all the information about the detainee in the near future. When a lawyer enters the process, no investigative actions should be carried out without their knowledge. Ask for help in finding a lawyer to existing initiatives, Legal service Viasna or through contacts on our Telegram channel. Make sure to ask the lawyer to records all violations against the detainee (psychological pressure, physical violence, misuse of power, violation of rights) and file complaints.

!In no case should you believe the police, the investigative committee or the KGB!
The main goal of these people is to achieve the harshest possible punishment for the persecuted, isolate them from society, and hide all their own violations. The only way to stop violations by the punishers, to exclude pressure or torture is to make what is happening visible.

Only this way will the human rights community, international society, and independent media be able to respond timely and properly to the lawlessness of the authorities and provide solidarity, material and information support.

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