Florian Toncar, deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, has taken on a prisoner’s godparenthood for Eduard Lobau.
Florian Toncar, Member of the German Bundestag, said:
“As the spokesman on human rights and humanitarian aid for the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag in the last electoral term, I have been following developments in Belarus with great concern for a number of years. The sentencing of Eduard Lobau, a member of an opposition youth movement, to four years in a labour colony on unconvincing grounds shows the full extent of the Lukashenko government’s repression of the political opposition in Belarus.
“Eduard Lobau, aged 22, is a member of the opposition youth movement “Malady Front” (Young Front) and was detained on the day before the presidential elections on 19 December 2010, for which Malady Front had planned a large demonstration in Minsk to protest against electoral fraud. According to Amnesty International, Eduard Lobau and Zmitser Dashkevich, the leader of Malady Front, were attacked by unknown assailants and arrested by the police a few minutes later. They were subsequently convicted of having assaulted passers-by on the basis of testimony from their attackers. Lobau and Dashkevich were sentenced to four and two years in a labour colony respectively.
“The trial and, in particular, the sentences imposed on these two young men flout the principles of the rule of law. These Stalinist methods of dealing with political opponents bring to mind dictatorships which have long since been consigned to the past. The rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association of everyone in Belarus must be respected.
“We must support these young people who are striving for freedom and civil rights in their home country, rather than simply abandoning them to their fate, and so I am pleased to take on the position of “godparent” to Eduard Lobau. I call for his release, and the release of the members of Malady Front imprisoned with him for political reasons.”
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.