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"Everyone in Belarus is afraid to speak openly"


The escape of the Belarusian athlete Kristina Timanowskaja to Poland was successful. In Warsaw she described the attempted kidnapping by the government in Belarus.

Read the video transcript here

Her escape to Poland was successful: Belarusian Olympic athlete Kristina Timanowskaja landed in Warsaw on Wednesday evening.

There the 24-year-old spoke for the first time in detail at a press conference - and told how it came to her escape.

Kristina Timanovskaya, Belarusian athlete:

"I was in the Olympic Village and a coach and a team member came into my room. They said I had some kind of injury and should come home. And if I don't, there can be problems in my country. (...) They said "It's not their choice, they just have to do it. But when I got my things and went to the car, my grandmother called me and said," You can't come home, they said a lot of bad things about you on TV. That you have psychological problems and that you might go to a hospital in Belarus or to prison. ‹«

Accompanied by a Belarusian official, she drove to Tokyo airport, where she sought protection from the police.

Her departure to Poland was then organized.

The alleged reason for the forced departure: Timanovskaya had criticized her coach in an Instagram video.

Kristina Timanovskaya, Belarusian athlete:

»I always try to express my opinion openly, but in Belarus you always have to be careful what you say if you don't want to conjure up bad consequences.

Yes, I think everyone in Belarus is afraid to speak openly. "

Her husband has also left the country to meet her again in Warsaw.

The two have received a humanitarian visa and want to build a new life in the neighboring country.

But the rest of her family was targeted by the Lukashenko regime as a result of their escape.

Kristina Timanovskaya, Belarusian athlete:

“Of course I am concerned about my parents, who are still in Belarus.

My father is sick, he has heart problems.

His condition has gotten worse in the last few days.

But I spoke to my parents today and they said everything was fine.

I just hope nothing bad happens to them. "

For months, the Belarusian ruler Lukashenko has been cracking down on politically dissenters, independent media and non-governmental organizations.

The Timanovskaya case will probably not end with the athlete's escape either.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-08-05

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