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Today it’s not only the International Women’s Day. It’s also Andrei Sannikovs birthday. Sannikov is imprisoned in Belarusian jail since the Presidential election in December 2010. For what? Simply for being a competitor to Lukashenko. This will be the second birthday for Sannikov without his wife or 4 year old child.

Iryna Khalip, journalist and wife of Andrei Sannikov, today writes about her husband on Charter97

I am repeating again: “Happy birthday, my darling! I love you. And I am waiting for you.” I remember that a year ago, after Danka’s birthday, when our friends brought a balloon with the words: “Dad, get back!” and my son launched it into the sky, Andrei learnt about that during a meeting in the remand prison in Valadarski Street, and said: “I felt myself as a man paying alimony.” So now I do not say pretentiously “Get back as soon as possible!” I am just waiting.

Khalip is not waiting alone. The Belarusian people are not waiting alone. Today, we as European citizens outside Belarus also congratulate Sannikov on his birthday. Every single day is now one day closer to freedom for Sannikov, the other political prisoners and the people of Belarus. And you know what? We are waiting too.

Long live Belarus & best birthday wishes from Sweden!