Oldest Detained After Belarus Presidential Election Is 73-Year-Old Teacher

The oldest “criminal” from the list of people arrested on 11 August was born in 1947. Vasily Yuferev was waiting for the results of the presidential election at his polling station on 9 August with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. However, instead of a report, he saw the insides of a temporary detention centre.

On the evening of 9 August, Vasily Yuferev and his family decided to take a walk. At some point, they stopped by secondary school No. 86 in Minsk to wait with other people for the electoral report to be made public. However, the family has never found out which presidential candidate won at their polling station.

The photo is provided by Vasily Yuferev’s family

“They left sometime after 8 pm, and when I called at 8.48 pm, all their phones were dead. They have already been arrested by that time,” Yuferev’s wife Olga recollects the details of that evening. As she was later told by eyewitnesses, almost all the people standing there were detained by police. From the Yuferev family, only one of the grandchildren managed to escape security forces.

“My grandson Yaroslav who has just turned 18 (he voted for the first time) grabbed his grandfather, because he knew that he could not run. Another ggrandson who escaped told me: ‘They told mom to back off. But she grabbed her nephew and said: ‘Let me take the child. What are you arresting him for? He didn’t do anything!’ Then she was taken away as well. We expected them to be released in three-five hours. I was told not to worry, they are innocent and will be home soon. But neither three nor five hours later they were released,” Olga Yuferev’s said.

Only the next morning the Yuferevs learned that the detainees had been taken to the temporary detention center on Okrestin Street. Vasily Pavlovich’s son and grandson headed there. According to the relatives, the family spent three days behind the bars. Yuferev-senior, his son-in-law and grandson were convicted to administrative arrest for 25 days, and his daughter — for 10 days.

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The son of the 73-year-old “criminal” is convinced that his dad could not have committed something so serious he should be thrown into prison for more than three weeks. According to his relatives, Vasily is a teacher, an intellectual, has been teaching all his life and worked at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR).

Now all the family members are in Zhodino detention centre. Dementy Yuferev and his nephew are also there, waiting for their relatives to be released. Last night, Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Barsukov said that all the detainees would be released on 14 August. It remains unclear whether he was talking only about those on Okrestin Street, or about all the detained in the past days.

Olga was also waiting for her loved ones near the detention center on Okrestin street for several days. Now she is at home, keeps on waiting for her husband, children and grandchildren to be released. It is still beyond her understanding how it is possible to get arrested in the street without any reason. But what disappoints her the most is that her husband didn’t get needed medicine, which “every person of his age takes”.

“When something like this happens to your close relatives in a peaceful and independent state, you feel terrified, you feel frightened. I felt like I was in another universe. It couldn’t have happened in reality,” said Yuferev’s wife.

Updated: On Friday, 14 August, at 1.30 pm, relatives reported that Vasily Yuferev were released

Source: TUT.BY; Text was translated by Bondaruk Darya