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Belarus : trade unionist released from prison Maksim Poznyakov testifies

Accueil > International (Engl) > Europe > Belarus : trade unionist released from prison (...)

The conditions in the detention center were “not very good” – this is what the leader of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union Maksim Poznyakov told about his arrest. He was elected acting chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions after the detention of Aliaksandr Yarashuk. A number of trade union leaders and activists were detained at that time.

Poznyakov then issued a statement on behalf of the trade unions, demanding the release of his colleagues. As a result, he ended up in jail. For the first 15 days he was convicted for the flag of Ukraine and the phrase “For independence”. Then there were the second trial and another 15 days of imprisonment.

“I spent 15 days in Novopolotsk and 15 days in Vitebsk. As for Vitebsk, it was the territory of the pre-trial detention center where a prison regime applied – no time in the open air, nothing“, Poznyakov said in an interview to the Narodnaya Volya newspaper.
As for Novopolotsk, walks in the open air were allowed, however, detainees were handcuffed during such walks. At first Maksim got parcels, but with time food products disappeared from them. Only clothes and hygiene items were allowed. No information or letters. During this month, says Poznyakov, he lost 10 kilograms.

According to him, he is not going to leave the country. While there is no decision to liquidate the independent trade unions, he intends to try to preserve the association.
“Of course, I would like to preserve the organization. We have already lost the primary organizations, we are trying to appeal the decisions, but, frankly, I have almost no faith in success. It will be good if we manage to preserve the BNP”, says the trade union leader.

Another task for the near future is to achieve the release of detained colleagues. In this matter, Poznyakov counts on the help of international structures, including the International Labour Organization. However, even if the authorities liquidate the independent trade union, it is unlikely that the movement will be destroyed, Poznyakov believes. He gives the example of Kazakhstan where independent trade unions are banned.

With the ban on trade unions, “the number of workers’ protests has not decreased there ; on the contrary, discontent is only growing year by year. New leaders appear, because people are not satisfied with the unfair situation with working conditions and wages,” Poznyakov says. The way the situation will develop in our country depends, first of all, on the leaders at specific enterprises.

“The destruction of independent trade unions will not affect the workers in any way if the social and economic situation worsens every day, if it becomes impossible to support their families. In this case, mass protests are inevitable”, said Maksim Poznyakov.

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22 juin 2022