2021 Photo Contest, Spot News, Singles, Nominee

Waiting for Release at a Temporary Detention Center in Belarus

Photographer

Nadia Buzhan

22 July, 2020

Olga Sieviaryniec waits for her husband Paval outside a detention center on Akrestsin Street, Minsk, Belarus.

Paval Sieviaryniec had been held on remand since 7 June, and his family had learned he was about to be released. Olga waited outside the prison for two hours, but Paval was not freed. Paval Sieviaryniec is a Christian Democrat politician and a well-known political activist. He is one of the founders of Youth Front, a youth movement supporting civil society based on Christian-democratic principles and the free market, and the education of young people to revive Belarusian national culture and language. He was arrested while collecting signatures in support of candidates to stand against President Alexander Lukashenko in his bid for a sixth consecutive term in office. Lukashenko had been in power since 1994. Dubbed ‘Europe’s last dictator’ by media outlets, he had frequently repressed opposition, and had not had a serious challenge to his leadership in the previous five elections. Amnesty International considers Paval Sieviaryniec a prisoner of conscience. He was still in prison in early 2021, partly in solitary confinement and unable to meet with a lawyer. He was denied access to books and television, and his Bible was taken from him.

About the photographer

Nadia Buzhan

Nadia Buzhan (1991) is a photojournalist from Minsk, Belarus. She graduated from the Institute of Journalism at Belarusian State University in 2014. In her work Buzhan deal...

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