‘Humiliation is their hallmark’ Basketball star Yelena Leuchanka recalls 15 days spent in an infamous Belarusian jail — Meduza

“The trial was that same day,” she continues. “When I was laying [there] and waiting for the hearing to start, I suddenly heard a girl in another cell start to sing ‘Gray’ and ‘Kupalinka.’ I started to sing too and of course, burst into tears immediately. It was touching, I felt that even here, in prison, we were together. When we finished singing, everyone started to clap. I’ll never forget that.”

After serving her fifteen days, Yelena Leuchanka was arrested and tried once again for participating in protests. This time, she was given a fine and released. She suspects that it was all an attempt to “put on a show” to intimidate other athletes and individuals involved in the demonstrations; “to show that this can happen to anyone.”

“I can’t forgive the cruelty they showed toward my family. I only learned that night before that I had a new case and a new trial. Meaning they wouldn’t let me go. But my loved ones were not informed,” Leuchanka explains. “They made my mother and father come to Okrestino at six in the morning and wait for me. I’ll never forget the photo of how my mom was crying on my dad’s shoulder, it was all over the media.”

“I can see how cruel these people are. Humiliation is their hallmark. There’s a black mark associated with Okrestino, a lot of tears and a lot of pain,” she continues. “Everything that happened there in the days after the elections is insanity. Now there’s less physical bullying there, less beatings, but I can call everything that happens there psychological violence and moral pressure. They’re violating basic human rights.”

Source: ‘Humiliation is their hallmark’ Basketball star Yelena Leuchanka recalls 15 days spent in an infamous Belarusian jail — Meduza