Ксёндз Лазар – вязень сумленьня

Ксёндз Лазар – вязень сумленьня

Сёньня ў “Міжнародную амністыю” накіраваны зварот з просьбаю прызнаць ксяндза Уладзіслава Лазара вязьнем сумленьня. 

Пад зваротам падпісаліся Ганна Шапуцька (грамадзкая ініцыятыва “За волю”), Павал Севярынец (Беларуская Хрысьціянская Дэмакратыя), Зьміцер Дашкевіч (Малады Фронт).

Разам з просьбаю аб прызнаньні ксяндза Лазара вязьнем сумленьня, у “Міжнародную Амністыю” накіраваны ліст з апісаньнем акалічнасьцяў справы ксяндза.

Catholic priest Uladzislaŭ Lazar was born in Kaniuchi village in Minsk region. He is 46 years old. After finishing school he served in the army, graduated from vocational school and thereafter from seminary in Hrodna. Uladzislaŭ Lazar served as a priest in Minsk (in the Archcathedral), Rudziensk, Mar’jina Horka and from April 2013 – in Barysaŭ.

He was arrested on May 31, 2013 on the way from his parents to Barysaŭ. The location of his car is still unknown. According to his sister Janina Lambovič, she had contacted all hospitals and mortuaries before reporting her brother’s disappearance to police a week later, but then she received a call from the KGB: they said her brother had been arrested and hung up.

There was no information from the authorities about the detention of the priest. Only on the 26th of July Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the detention of “one of the traitors, who served in the security services and was associated with foreign states through representatives of the Catholic church”. According to him, the activities of the detainee from security services had hurt people working abroad. The KGB continuously refuses to comment on that case.

All public appeals to the KGB and the office of the Prosecutor General requesting to clarify the situation of Uladzislaŭ Lazar are being ignored. Only on the 12th  of September “after many efforts and a long wait” the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Belarus received information about the detention of Uladzislaŭ Lazar from state officials. According to this information the priest is being accused of violating section 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code of Belarus and his criminal charge is determined by paragraph 6 of Article 16 of the Criminal Code. He is charged with transfer of money and property to a person who is accused of spying for another state.

In fact, this is all that is known about the case of priest Uladzislaŭ Lazar up to now. The relatives, the parishioners and friends of the priest do not believe that he might be guilty. In the letter to his relatives Uladzislaŭ Lazar wrote that he did not plead guilty. More than 5,000 signatures have been collected in Belarus for his release, there were also marathons of solidarity held, money collected to help his family and so on.

On the 19th of September the Archbishop of Minsk and Mahiloŭ Tadevuš Kandrusievič called upon the priests and the consecrated to pray in the intention of the matter. On September 30 and October 3, 2013 Pope Francis expressed his concern about the arrest of Uladzislaŭ Lazar and requested being informed personally and regularly about the development of the situation.

On the 25th of October the Apostolic Nuncio in Belarus Claudio Gugerotti was the first to be allowed to meet with the priest in the KGB jail. The meeting was attended by the KGB person responsible for the investigation and the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus. Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti assured the priest of the immediacy of Pope Francis and the entire Catholic church of Belarus. Uladzislaŭ Lazar said that the arrest had not prevented him from deep spiritual life and asserted that he is a patriot, loves Belarus and awaits a fair judgment. The priest also mentioned that he had forgiven those who had caused his suffering, and asked to encourage everyone to pray for him.