Angelika Graf, deputy spokeswoman on human rights and humanitarian aid for the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, has taken on a prisoner’s godparenthood for Siarhei Kazakou.
Member of the German Bundestag Angelika Graf explained the reasons for her support thus:
“Siarhei Kazakou was arrested for campaigning peacefully for a democratic Belarus. By taking on a prisoner’s godparenthood for Kazakou, I would like to draw public attention to his fate and that of his fellow detainees. I view the action of the Belarusian state as unacceptable, since it violates the basic rights of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of organisation. I appeal to the government of Belarus, as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to recall its commitments and to finally fulfil them.”
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. Currently, 13 parliamentarians have taken on godparenthoods for political prisoners in Belarus.
Nineteen-year-old Siarhei Kazakou, an activist in the ‘European Belarus’ campaign, is one of the youngest political prisoners in Belarus. He was arrested on 27 January 2011 and charged due to his participation in protests against the falsification of the presidential elections held on 19 December 2010 in Belarus. On 12 May 2011, he was sentenced to three years in prison for ‘organisation of mass riots’.
Belarusian and international human-rights organisations view Siarhei Kazakou as a political prisoner and are calling for his immediate and unconditional release.