Volha Zalatar’s Final Speech in Court

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Volha Zalatar, a mother of five children and a political prisoner, made her final speech in court. The prosecutor requested for Zalatar five years in prison. She is accused under three articles of the Criminal Code, including the creation of an extremist group in a form of a Telegram chat. Zalatar will be sentenced on 3 December 2021.

I’m here because I am a caring person.
I am here because I live by God’s commandments.
I’m here because I am a mom who wants to protect her children.

As a mother and Catholic, I stand guard over human dignity and spiritual values. All my actions and statements are determined by love towards people and by hatred ‑ towards lies and violence.

We are all children of God. Each of us has the capacity to make this world alike the Kingdom of God where love reigns. Hatred, lies, envy, revenge and fear have no place in the Kingdom of God.

My heart is torn to pieces as the degree of hatred is growing, the amount of pain and resentment is escalating. What is needed is repentance and mutual forgiveness. This is the only way to stop the socio-political crisis in the country.

In the case file, my actions are given meanings that I did not intend. Ordinary human actions, reactions and feelings were criminalised.

The case file contains a photograph with a poster that reads “Peace, love, freedom”. I subscribe to every its word. I want peace for my country. I want love for God and people to reign in my country. I want everyone to have freedom of choice.

Desmond Tutu, a South African archbishop who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, put it this way: The Lord God created us and said, ‘Go, my children. Now you are free.’ And he respects our freedom so much that he is prepared to let us end in hell by our own free will, rather than forcing us to heaven.

The Second Letter of St Peter says that God is patient with us, he does not want anyone to perish, but to come to repentance.*

I would like to conclude with the words of Uładzimir Karatkievič: “God lives in Belarus”. Long live God. Live forever.

* 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.