Former political prisoner Hanna spoke about journalist Iryna Slaunikava. Iryna was detained at Minsk airport on her way back from holiday with her husband. The woman was sentenced to five years in a penal colony.
“Ira was in another unit, but we were in the same shift, so we saw each other every day at the factory. I met her when we were on our prisoner transport from Valadarka to Homieĺ.
All the political prisoners were handcuffed, and there were 20 of us. That’s why it was a separate adventure in how we handled our bags while being handcuffed. The handcuffs were taken off only in the morning. Ira and I went to the prison in the same compartment. The handcuffs were not very tight, and we just took our hands out of them. But we had to do this without the guards noticing, and to make sure the handcuffs weren’t too tight, so we could put them back on quickly. It was funny to see the perplexed faces of the guards when they saw a girl in a jacket and handcuffs, and 10 minutes later she was already out of her jacket and handcuffs. We took turns sleeping, as there was no room to lie down.
Ira was taken to Homieĺ pre-trial detention facility (SIZO), while I was taken straight to Antoshkina. We met in the colony after the New Year, and it was a very warm meeting. She didn’t complain about her health; she learned sewing skills with passion, always with a smile and a positive attitude.”