As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Martin Schulz (Bundestag, Germany), Andrzej Halicki (European Parliament, Poland) and Jürgen Martens (Bundestag, Germany) have taken over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Andrei Voinich is a long-standing opposition activist of the opposition group “European Belarus”. He has been intimidated and persecuted by the Belarusian authorities and sentenced to fines and imprisonment in the past. On 25 September, masked security guards stormed the flat rented by “European Belarus” activists and confiscated all IT equipment, flags and personal belongings. Andrei Voinich was arrested and charged under Article 293 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“organising mass riots”).
Martin Schulz, SPD Member of the Bundestag and former President of the European Parliament, has taken over the prisoner’s godparenthood for Andrei Voinich. He declared: “I have taken over a godparenthood for Andrei Voinich who is an active democrat in Belarus and was imprisoned innocently. I am calling for the resignation of Lukashenka, the immediate and unconditional release of the political prisoners and free elections. #WeStandBYyou”
Siarhei Korshun is a blogger working for the telegram channel “Armiya S Narodom” (“Army with the People”). He was arrested on 21 July and charged under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“preparation of or participation in group actions which seriously violate public order”). The charge is linked to an election campaign event in Grodno on 29 May.
Andrzej Halicki, Member of the Civic Platform and member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, stated on the occasion of taking over the prisoner’s godparenthood for Siarhei Korshun:” I am now an EU Parliamentarian from Poland. But once, 40 years ago, I was fighting on the streets of my country and in the underground movement for freedom and democracy in Poland. Back then, in the 80’s I felt and I knew that the West was supporting me in my fight. Now, when the Belarusians are struggling for democracy and a peaceful future for their country, Poland should play a role as a Western supporter by being a frontrunner in delivering the aid to the democratic efforts of Belarus and by bringing the help to the victims and prisoners of the Lukashenka regime. Therefore, as a Member of the European Parliament and as a citizen of the EU I call for the immediate release of Mr. Siarhei Korshun, unjustly imprisoned for a political reason. I will do everything I can to help and closely monitor his situation and support the demand for his release.”
Uladzimir Dudarau is the coordinator of the nomination group of the presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka in the Mogilov region. In 2018 he was appointed Deputy Head of the Mogilov City Administration. He left office in October 2019 and has been imprisoned since 11 June 2020.
Jürgen Martens, FDP Member of the Bundestag and member of the Committee for Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection, has taken over the prisoner’s godparenthood for Uladzimir Dudarau. He declared: “At the end of the day there is nothing stronger than the idea of freedom. In Belarus people are marching against primitive, brutal dictatorship on their – peaceful – way to democracy, the rule of law, free media and civil liberties. The flag of the democratic opposition of Belarus contain the colours white and red. For me these colours symbolise the spirit of civic activism, the right to have free, fair and transparent elections, a peaceful succession of power well as the fundamental right of self-determination and freedom. Personally, I admire the courage, determination, patience and will of the Belarusian people protesting against a fraudulent presidential election and making an important step in their nation building process in order to break with the Soviet past. The brutal and barbaric response of the regime of Aleksandar Lukasenka is completely unacceptable and I urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Uladzimir Dudarau and all other political prisoners from detention!”