Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Belarus opposition leader to receive first-ever Strassenkamera award

Leader of the Belarus opposition party, Vladimir Neklyayev, will be presented with the first-ever Strassenkamera awards by the Czech Broadcasting Union in Prague.

Neklyayev, who has been serving an 11-year sentence for organizing “illegal assemblies” and “disobeying authorities” in Belarus, is expected to receive the $50,000 Strassenkamera Award during the 10th Annual Awards Ceremony on September 13.

Neklyayev was on his way to meet with the European Parliament when he was arrested on the streets of Minsk in March 2017, at the height of an anti-government protest movement. In July this year, he received several new charges, including conspiracy to murder a state security officer and treason.

His wife, Anna Neklyayeva, with whom he has three children, was also arrested for her part in the protests, but she was released in June this year.

“We have not been able to visit him for more than half a year, so it is a great relief to hear he is finally coming to see us,” Neklyayeva said.

“We are grateful for the award and thanks to all the supporters who helped to keep our campaign for this award going,” she added.

Daniel Jan Maslova, Chairman of the Central European University’s Media and Communication Department, said: “This decision by the Czech Broadcasting Union deserves high commendation. As a historian, a radio broadcaster and an award-winning journalist, the inclusion of the human rights award in this year’s event sends a strong message to all of our readers in Belarus who still need to hear that this award has been earned from nothing but the work, effort and dedication of one man.”

The Lawyer’s Committee to Support the National Security of the Russian Federation has been campaigning on Neklyayev’s behalf and the release of his wife and daughter.

Ksenia Mazureva, an advocate for the families of the activists who were imprisoned in Russia, said she is delighted the protest movement has so far been successful in its fight for justice.

“Vladimir Neklyayev, Anna Neklyayeva and the NKDL have shown all of Belarus that taking to the streets is worth fighting for,” Mazureva said.

“They have proven that the freedom of speech can cost you your freedom and millions of dollars in damages and legal fees. And I, myself, can testify to that. Andrei Shcherbakov is still alive today because of the protests in Russia after the disputed presidential elections in Duma.”

In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, the Strassenkamera awards are awarded annually to people who have caused great injustice to the “Russian people.”

A list of winners, details of their crime and their supposed crimes, and the names of the society members who are supposed to distribute the awards, was published earlier this year.

The awards ceremony is held in Prague in the Czech Republic and this year will be hosted in the Czech Capital’s State Radio and Television Institute (RRKM).

Cuba-born former SNB General Rouko Echegoyen, known as the inventor of the “new law” in KGB spying operations, and Andrey Fedorenko, who started military reform movement “Wagner Admirability” with the support of the late journalist Vladimir Marsilsky, have also been awarded this year.

“[The winners] belong to the epoch of man who puts ethics first, and who does not need the fake professional coat,” the Russian Foundation for Socio-cultural and human rights standards wrote on its website last month.

“No more such doctrinaire, chimerical and forlorn organizations, instead of assisting everyday people. […] Think about it — the Radinansk police is forced to display a plaque calling on people to join these charades which aim at nothing. Tens of thousands of individual cases are suffocating to death daily, but no one seems to care.”

The award ceremony also pays tribute to the execution of persons during political counter-insurgency operations and to people who have suffered due to the Soviet state’s intervention.

The Czech Parliament held a ceremony to support Neklyayev in July this year. The award also includes a check of $20,000 from the Czech Government and $10,000 from the RKKM.

Alexa McGuinness covers arts and entertainment for FOX News.

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