People of Word (32)

Mikoła Papieka (was released on December 17, 2022)

Poet, beekeeper, founder of the Honey Literary Prize, and social activist.

November 10, 2021

Member of the Union of Belarusian Writers.

In 1999, he published a volume of poetry Čarnaviki with a foreword by Mikoła Kuprejeŭ. The author expressed gratitude to his “two-winged funders – bees” for the publication of the book.  It was published in the magazine Kryniсa, the weekly Litaratura i Mastactva, and regional and district periodicals.

In 2000, he was awarded the Hliniany Viales-99 award for the Čarnaviki.

In 2001, he founded the annual Honey Award. Only writers connected with Brest can become laureates of the award.

Mikoła Papieka was arrested on November 30 at home in the village of Linova, Pružanski region.

Friends and associates of the poet gradually provided more and more information on social networks. According to them, it happened at 06:45 a.m. on November 30 and then Mikoła Papieka was taken to Brest.

During the interrogation in the detention center, Mikoła Papieka did not testify against himself on the basis of Article 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, he spoke in Belarusian, demanded an interpreter, and also that the documents of the investigators be drawn up in Belarusian. “I got an interpreter in the end. Who would have thought that finding an interpreter in Brest would be so difficult,” said Mikoła Papieka after his release. That time Mikoła Papieka returned home after three days in a detention center.

On June 8, 2021, Mikoła Papieka was sentenced to 2 years of in an open-type correctional facility under part 1 of Art. 342 and part 2 Art. 75. The “Round Dance Case” is one of the largest criminal cases related to the post-election protest actions in Brest. On September 13, a march took place in Brest as a sign of protest against election falsification and violence. The participants of the peaceful protest marched to the intersection of Praspekt Mašerava and Cosmonauts boulevard. People sang songs, waved flags, until the water cannon arrived, and the militia officers started arresting the protesters.

From September 12, 2021, Mikoła Papieka is serving his sentence in an open correctional facility in Mazyr. His petition for referral to an open-type institution in Kuplin, which is located a few kilometers from his native house, was rejected by the authorities.

On September 16, 2021, he was recognized as a political prisoner.

At the beginning of April 2022, the Mazyr District Court ordered to transfer Mikoła Papieka to a penal colony for 8.5 months.

On December 17, 2022, Mikoła Papieka was released from Penal Colony No. 15 in Mahilioŭ, having fully served his sentence.