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#WhereAreThey: When Political Prisoners Are Held Incommunicado

Freedom House just released a critical new policy brief on the chilling practice of incommunicado detention for political prisoners. This brief exposes how authoritarian regimes use incommunicado detention to break the will of their targets. Prisoners are completely isolated – denied access to lawyers, family, and even the outside world. This deliberate tactic inflicts immense physical and emotional stress, not only on the prisoners themselves, but also on their loved ones who are left in agonizing uncertainty, often unsure of their well-being or even if they’re still alive. 

The situation in Belarus is particularly alarming. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the democratic leader of Belarus, was recently in Washington, D.C. Sadly, her husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, is one of the eight known political prisoners currently held incommunicado in Belarus, according to the human rights group Viasna. The last reported contact with Siarhei was on March 9th, 2023.