Writer and journalist Andrej Dynko, arrested with hundreds of other protestors in the days surrounding the March 19th presidential elections, was freed today after serving a 10-day sentence. He had been accused of “hooliganism” for allegedly using “vulgar language.” PEN Centers worldwide protested against his arrest and that of other writers and journalists. PEN continues to call for the release of others who remain detained and for an end to the attacks on those whose only act has been to practice their rights to freedom of expression and association.

During his time in prison, Andrej Dynko kept a prison diary that has been published on the Charter ’97 web site. Here is an extract:

I am sitting on a long wooden bench (which I also use for sleeping). My inmates pressed their backs to each other on the plank bed the bed is so narrow that they have to sleep reversed, facing each others’ toes, muffling up their legs with their coats. The cold crawls inside through the iron-barred hole with the fire alarm, which leads into the corridor, the chilly wind drifts through the chinks in the window with a matted enforces glass during the late soviet times such glass was used to make doors in the apartment blocks of panel multi-storeyed houses. Akrestsina is finally quiet. Socks get dried on a radiator. “Kent”-butts stick out of the ashtray, made out of bread the only accessible building material. The brown wooden floor reflects the light of the bulb, a guard is coughing in the corridor, a small square window of the feeding-trough is oozing out on the tin-enforced door. If you dont suffer from claustrophobia, it is quiet and calm here. Everything is provided for you, nothing depends on you.

Being imprisoned feels like being pregnant: it’s worrisome in the beginning, and in the end. Prisoners discuss, which provocation can wait for them at the prison exit. Almost everyone here has an acquaintance, who is under politically motivated criminal investigation. It was especially painful to hear from Siarhej Salash (he was sent to our cell one night before the court) that secret services stealthily put drugs into the home of Kastus Shydlouski, the museum owner from Braslau. One can expect everything from this regime. The worst tricks of the Soviet times are back, and the repressive machine has grown much larger.

To read the full diary go to: http://www.charter97.org/eng/news/2006/03/31/nn

Charter’97 also has a daily log of events as they unfold. For further details and other links, please refer to Rapid Action issued 23 March 2006:

For more information on the current situation in Belarus, please see:



For the text of Dynko’s interview with El Monde Diplomatique, go to:

For details of Arche go to:

For an example of Dynko’s writings go to:

Please continue to send appeals:

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all writers, journalists and others detained in Belarus in denial of their rights to freedom of expression and association;

  • Expressing alarm at reports of beatings and ill-treatment of protestors and detainees;

  • Demanding that there be an end to attacks on those who practice their legitimate right to freedom of expression


Please write a polite letter on your personal or institutional letterhead–or copy the one below–and mail or fax to President Alyaksandr G. Lukashenka (postage 84¢) or send a letter directly from his web site: www.president.gov.by/eng/president/mail.shtml


President of the Republic of Belarus 
Alyaksandr G. Lukashenka                                                                                         
Karl Marx Str. 38                                                                                                             
220016 g. Minsk                                                                                                               

Fax: 00 375 (172) 26 06 10 or 00 375 (172) 22 38 72

Your Excellency,

As one of the 3,100 writers who are Members of PEN American Center, I am writing to express my alarm over the arrests of more than twenty writers and journalists who have been detained for their participation in peaceful protests against the recent presidential re-election. I am also alarmed by reports that violence was used against peaceful demonstrators last week in October Square.

I understand that among those arrested figured writer, editor, and Vice President of Belarus PEN Center Andrej Dynko, who was served a ten-day prison sentence, as well as lawyer, activist and writer Yuri Chavusau, and Belarus PEN staff member and poet Iryna Darafiejchuk. I also understand that Dynko is reported to have complained that prison conditions are poor, that cells are unheated, that wardens kept radios turned on throughout the night making it impossible for inmates to sleep, and that basic necessities such as toilet paper are denied.

While Andrej Dynko has been released, I believe his colleagues continue to be detained merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights to which Belarus is a party. I therefore respectfully call for the immediate and unconditional release of all writers and journalists detained for their peaceful participation in protests against the election. Finally, I seek assurances that any attacks on demonstrators have ceased and that those currently detained treated humanely.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.