Marina Schuster, spokeswoman on human rights and humanitarian aid for the Free Democratic Party (FDP) parliamentary group in the Bundestag and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has taken on a prisoner’s godparenthood for Pavel Vinahradau.
Marina Schuster, Member of the German Bundestag, said:
“Because of his participation in the protests against electoral fraud on 19 December 2010, Pavel Vinahradau was arrested and, on 5 May 2011, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. All he had done was exercise his universal human and civil rights. But in Belarus that is a courageous and, unfortunately, highly dangerous decision. Arrests are carried out and sentences are handed down in line with political dictates rather than the principles of the rule of law. The contempt for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Belarus is thus continuing. The actions of the Lukashenko regime are leaving it increasingly isolated in Europe.
“As spokeswoman on human rights for the FDP parliamentary group, I am calling for the annulment of all politically motivated verdicts and an end to the repression of critics of the regime and the independent media. Pavel Vinahradau and all other political prisoners must be released and rehabilitated, because all people in Belarus have the right to live in freedom and dignity. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Pavel Vinahradau – because I share his aim and that of his fellow activists of working towards democracy and freedom in Belarus.”
The Prisoner’s Godparenthood campaign for political prisoners in Belarus was initiated by the human-rights organisation Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights to support the prisoners and their families.
Pavel Vinahradau, who is 23 years old, had been active in the “Tell the Truth” campaign organised by the presidential candidate Uladzimir Niakliayeu since the summer of 2010, and had previously been involved in the “European Belarus” campaign. The Belarusian human-rights centre “Viasna”, which observed Pavel Vinahradau’s trial, considers the proceedings against him to be unlawful and politically motivated.
Belarusian and international human-rights organisations regard Pavel Vinahradau as a prisoner of conscience and are calling for his immediate and unconditional release.