During these months we have seen and every day we prove that the whole Belarus has become one big family. Each illegally detained person is being replaced by a dozen new ones coming to the streets: friends, relatives of the detainees, caring peaceful Belarusians who are tired of violence on the streets of their home city.

Let the people who are currently in jail for the freedom of Belarus feel our support once again. Talk about them, take photos of our heroes with you for a walk, tell stories about your friends who have been repressed, publish stories of political prisoners on your social networks, set their portraits as your avatars.

Today, Maria Kalesnikava’s sister, Maxim Znak’s friend and lawyer and Ilya Salei’s sister shared their personal stories.

Lawyer Dmitry Laevsky about Maxim Znak: “Today Max is the honor and conscience of the profession”

Dmitry Laevsky wrote a post about Maxim Znak, about his activities, professionalism and the absurdity of the situation when a lawyer is a suspect in a criminal case under Part 3 of Art. 361 of the Criminal Code, “allegedly in his critical statements and legal explanations there are calls for action against national security.”

We give excerpts from the post:

“We have nothing to justify in this matter. What did Max do in his streams? He explained the existence of legal procedures within the electoral law and how to apply them. That’s it. It turns out that in today’s Belarus it is a crime to talk about the application of legal procedures, we do not see any other possible understanding of the position of the authorities. But if the authorities are not ready to bind themselves with legal obligations, then what awaits all of us, citizens of this country? Totalitarianism.

Criticism of the elections and other results of legal procedures. It is the duty of a lawyer to defend his client’s position. This applies equally to the criminal process and to any other areas of the lawyer’s activity. Max did everything according to his conscience and in line with the lawyer’s duty.”

“Max’s trustees were and are such people as Viktar Babaryka, Sviatlana Tikhanouskaya, Maria Kalesnikava. They need no introduction. All of them this summer gave us hope for a new free Belarus, where everyone can not be afraid, can develop, achieve, rejoice, and breathe freely. Where the police answer to the people. Where the secret services catch criminals, not dissidents. Where people are not tortured. Where the right protects a person.”

“Max is incredible. He openly took part in Viktar Babaryka’s campaign, submitted an application to the CEC by proxy to register Viktar Babaryka as a candidate when the latter was already in custody, defended Viktar Babaryka’s position as the opponent of the government at the CEC meeting on July 14, 2020, submitted on behalf of Viktar Babaryka an appeal of the illegal decision of the CEC to the Supreme Court, hosted legal streams, generated cool legal ideas and joined the Coordination Council. Nobody has ever done this. And before that, Max’s path was law faculty, PhD, MBA, many years of legal practice, establishment of his own company, managing partner position in a large law firm, honorable places in international rankings. And many clients whom he has helped.”

“I will never be able to enjoy any of the legal victories while Max is in jail. Max’s arrest, the worthiest specialist, is an insult to the legal adviser’s profession. Are the lawyers ready to accept this? Are the people of our country ready to accept this? I’m definitely not. Therefore, it is my obligation to secure Max’s release and all suspicion to be removed. Today Max is the honor and conscience of the profession. There is not the slightest doubt that we will win.”

“Until recently, until June 2020, I constantly wondered that the problem with the situation around our profession is no one to look up to. Max fixed that.

I/We are the voice of Maxim Znak. #iWeMaximZnak

Ilya Salei’s sister: “He made a decision to follow the call of his heart”

“Time has passed. We have grown up. A lot has changed! We are all the same best friends; only now we do not confront childishly and each other, but as grown-ups – lawlessness, deception, injustice and violence! More precisely, Ilya confronts, together with his like-minded people and only by legal methods!”

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На этой фотографии мы с моим братом @illiasalei ! Возможно, не все его узнали!😂🤣 фото архивное, и, вероятно, мне в скором времени 🙏🏻 ещё влетит за его публикацию😂 В детстве мы все время выясняли отношения: мне пару раз влетало зарядкой от Нокии (помните, такую – с огромным чёрным блоком питания😂), ему приходилось пару часов посидеть закрытым на балконе, пока не придут родители с работы 🤷🏼‍♀️ Разок я намеренно отправила его новенький кнопочный Sony Ericsson в стиральную машину, после чего туда же отправилась моя модная Motorola🤷🏼‍♀️😂 не подумайте, при этом мы всегда были лучшими друзьями) ♥️💪🏻 в общем, в те годы противостояние велось не на жизнь, а на смерть))) и, заметьте, не самыми «законными» методами 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Прошло время. Мы выросли. Многое изменилось! Мы все так же лучшие друзья, только противостоим теперь не по-детски друг другу, а по-взрослому беззаконию, обману, несправедливости и насилию! Точнее, противостоит Илья, вместе со своими единомышленниками, и только ЗАКОННЫМИ методами! Его решение стать членом инициативной группы В.Д.Бабарико, его адвокатом, а также адвокатом Марии Колесниковой, – осознанное и заслуживает уважения. Он получил прекрасное образование, зарекомендовал себя хорошим специалистом, и только после этого принял решение следовать зову своего сердца, несмотря на возможные сложности и даже опасность! Он понимал и понимает, что рискует, что делает больно маме и папе, которые, как родители, хоть и безмерно уважают его решение, но, тем не менее, боятся и переживают за него! Он принял решение не уехать, хотя было миллион возможностей, а бороться за страну, в которой живет и которую любит! Сейчас он находится в ИВС, ждёт перевода в СИЗО, как обвиняемый по ст. 361 Уголовного Кодекса! Его коллеги уже находятся там. Справедливо ли, что умные, добрые, интеллигентные, образованные люди, которые не нарушали закон, а честно и добросовестно выполняли свою работу, находятся под следствием???? НЕТ!!!! #МойБратНеПреступник #ЯМЫильясалей @viktar_babaryka @stranadlyazhizni @nexta_tv @radiosvaboda

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Maxim Znak’s friend: “Despite anything, he was able to remain kind, open, straightforward”

“I have known Maxim personally for a long time. While still a student, a close friend of mine worked for him. Znak’s office has always been warm and cozy. There were no pretentious rooms, arrogance and show-off typical for business lawyers. But there was always hot tea, cracker rings and a friendly atmosphere. Maxim was always glad to see us as students in his office late in the evening. He was sincerely interested in how we were doing at the law school, how it was for me to work at another law firm and how life was in general.”

Maria Kalesnikava’s sister: “Masha has more than once stood up for me, the younger one”

Tatyana Khomich shared her childhood memories:

“As children, we did not always get along like most brothers and sisters, but I always knew that I have a strong sister, and if I need her help, support or protection, Masha can sort anyone! And Masha stood up more than once for me, the younger one.

I remember how we argued about what music would play in our common room, and Masha always chose the classics. Masha has loved music since childhood, so by the age of 15, when she had to decide where to move on, she was absolutely sure that she would become a musician. Whenever any famous musician visited Minsk, she always got to the concert. Even if the ticket was impossible to find. It has always been important for her to develop as a musician and as a person, to master new professions and move on: Masha became a project manager in arts, was involved in promoting festivals and projects on contemporary art in social networks, and became the director of a cultural center. And I always admire her performance and desire to develop and support her in this!

As we grew up, we have become true friends who are always on one side and will help each other. We love spending time together, walking and talking. Masha is well known and loved by my friends, and I am happy to communicate with her friends.

We have a great tradition to travel together and with the whole family. See Milan, Venice and Verona together? – Sure! Go to Leipzig and Munich together for a few days? – Easy! Even if Masha has been there many times. Celebrate New Year with the whole family and parents? – Definitely!

I know that a person with such values, a sense of justice and love for all people, cannot and should not be persecuted!

I really hope that I will soon be able to see Masha, hug her and we will again wander the streets of Minsk for hours!”

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