Free Ihar Losik
Ihar Losik: RFE/RL Journalist Imprisoned in Belarus
Ihar Losik is a blogger and contributor for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, and a former RFE/RL Václav Havel Journalism Fellow (2015-2016 cohort). Ihar was detained on June 25, 2020, in advance of Belarus’ rigged election in August 2020. He was tried on charges including “organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order” and “preparation for participation in riots.”
After a five-month closed-door trial, Ihar was convicted on December 14, 2021, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Five others were sentenced to lengthy prison terms during the same trial. Ihar’s appeal was denied on June 1, 2022, and he was transferred to the Navapolatsk hard labor colony. In June 2022, the Lukashenka regime added him to Belarus’s terrorist watch list.
Since his arrest, Ihar has faced severe physical and psychological pressures, including two debilitating hunger strikes. Prison authorities have sought to affect his mental state with frequent transfers to different cells and by denying mail privileges for extended periods of time. Ihar is currently being held incommunicado. His family has not heard from him since February 20, 2023. Reports suggest he suffered self-inflicted injuries during an incident on March 15, 2023.
On October 18, 2022, Belarusian authorities detained Ihar’s wife Darya Losik. On January 17, 2023, she was sentenced to two years in prison for “facilitating extremism.” The charge stems from an interview Darya gave to the Poland-based Belsat television channel on her husband’s imprisonment. The Supreme Court of Belarus rejected Darya Losik’s appeal on March 21, 2023. With both of her parents in prison, the Losiks’ young daughter Paulina is in the care of her grandparents.
U.S. and EU officials, as well as Belarusian and international human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Freedom House, Freedom Now, Human Rights Center “Viasna,” Human Rights Watch, and PEN America, have recognized Ihar as a political prisoner and called for his release. German Bundestag Member Robin Wagener serves as an advocate for Ihar and Darya through the “godparenthood” campaign launched by Libereco.
Ihar’s message to his supporters: “It’s nice that so many Belarusians write and support. Only such unity, commitment, and solidarity will help all the innocent go free and return to their families. Justice will prevail. So, hang in there, too.”
How You Can Support Ihar
- Write postcards in Belarusian or Russian and mail them to Ihar. Ihar is being held at: Penal colony No. 1. 211440, Navapolack, vulica Techničnaya 8, Belarus.
- Submit your messages in English or Belarusian to the Solidarity Postcards Atelier. Volunteers will mail Ihar the handwritten postcards on your behalf.
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