On the morning of November 9, the father of well-known Belarusian writer and dissident Sasha Filipenko was taken away by several armed men in the capital, Minsk.
This is a clear case of clan responsibility and intimidation, unfortunately common in Russia and its satellite states. The parents were forced to lie on the floor, their home was searched and their personal belongings taken. Before handcuffing 62-year-old Alexander Nikolayevich Filipenko, the gunmen told Filipenko’s parents that they should »thank their son«.
Born in Minsk in 1984, Sasha Filipenko is one of Belarus’ most prominent writers and one of the most vocal critics of the Lukashenko regime. He took part in the 2020 protests and has since lived in exile in Switzerland with his family. In his novels such as »The Hunt« and »The Former Son« (published in German by Diogenes), he uses satire to denounce the conditions in his home country. »It is obvious that they are putting pressure on me to prevent me from speaking openly in the European press«, the writer told PEN Berlin.
PEN Berlin calls on the German government to put pressure on the regime in Minsk so that the writer’s father can be released quickly and unharmed.
PEN Berlin. We stand by our word.