As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, John Howell (Parliament of the United Kingdom, Conservatives), Max Lucks (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) and Renata Alt (German Bundestag, Free Democratic Party) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Iryna Zlobina was arrested on 12 January 2021. She is charged for allegedly providing financial support to protesters in Minsk since August 2020 (Belarusian Criminal Code, Article 342). She is currently in pre-trial detention and still awaiting her indictment.
John Howell is a Conservative MP in the United Kingdom. Upon taking on the godparenthood of Iryna Zlobina, he formulates clear demands: “I call for the release of Iryna Zlobina by the authorities in Belarus. All she has done is to gather voluntary donations to help pay her fines for participating in peaceful gatherings. No where else would this be regarded as a crime and she should be freed immediately.”
Ivan Komar is a Belarusian anarchist. He was arrested on 20 October 2019 for allegedly “throwing light bulbs filled with paint at the Minsk City Court building”. Komar reported mistreatment in prison in order to make him confess. On 12 February 2020, he was sentenced to seven years in prison (Criminal Code, Arts. 218, 314, 295). On 27 March 2020, the sentence was reduced to 3.5 years.
Max Lucks is a member of the Green Party in the German Bundestag. He taking over the godparenthood of Ivan Komar from Margit Stumpp and states: “I strongly criticise the politically motivated imprisonment of activists in Belarus. Instead of guaranteeing Ivan Komar a trial under the rule of law, he was threatened with violence, intimidated and ultimately falsely imprisoned. I stand in great solidarity with the Belarusian civil society and call for the release of Ivan Komar and all other political prisoners”.
Uladzimir Dudarau worked for presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka in the Mogilov region. Before that, he was deputy head of the Mogilov Municipality from 2018 to October 2019. He was imprisoned on 11 June 2020. On 20 September 2021, he was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison for alleged abuse of office (Criminal Code, Article 426).
Renata Alt, member of the Bundestag for the Free Democratic Party and former member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, has taken over the godparenthood of Uladzimir Dudarau from Jürgen Martens. She explains: “As my parliamentary group’s rapporteur for Eastern Europe, I observed the situation in Belarus very closely even before the rigged election. The peaceful protests, their good organisation, the willingness of the people to help each other and stand up for each other – all this inspires in me the deepest respect and great admiration for the protest movement. On the other hand, the brutality with which the self-proclaimed President Lukashenko put down the protests was hair-raising. Even if, objectively speaking, we have little leverage on the regime in Minsk at the moment, we must not lose sight of the situation in Belarus. It is very important for the political prisoners to feel that they have not been forgotten, that they have not been abandoned. Giving them visibility is the least we can – and must – do. I – like all democrats – never get tired of calling for the release of political prisoners like Uladzimir Dudarau. We must not allow the situation in Belarus to be simply accepted.”