As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Claudia Raffelhüschen (German Bundestag, Free Democratic Party), Beate Müller-Gemmeke (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) and Julian Pahlke (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Anzhela Asad is a chief accountant at the independent news portal TUT.BY, against which a case of tax evasion on an especially large scale (Penal Code, Art. 243) was opened on 18 May 2021. In this context, the offices and homes of key staff members were searched and the news portal was blocked. Anzhela Asad was arrested as a suspect.
Claudia Raffelhüschen, Member of the German Bundestag for the Free Democratic Party, comments her godparenthood of Anzhela Asad: “My parliamentary group and I stand by all persecuted, threatened and unjustly imprisoned people in Belarus. Peaceful protest for the rule of law and democracy, for human rights and freedom is not a criminal offence, it is an indispensable democratic instrument of a free society. Our solidarity and recognition go to all committed people. We, the Free Democrats in the German Bundestag, call on Belarus to ensure an immediate end to the violence and to seek the release of all political prisoners. It is time for free and internationally observed new elections, which must be followed by a democratic constitutional reform.”
Hanna Ablab is an employee of the Belarusian Railways. She was detained on 21 September 2021 as part of a criminal investigation into alleged “high treason” (Criminal Code, Art. 356). As part of this case, several employees of state-owned enterprises are charged who supported local strikes and were part of the labour rights group “Rabochy Rukh”.
Beate Müller-Gemmeke, a Member of the German Bundestag for Alliance 90/The Greens, has taken on the godparenthood of Hanna Ablab and states: “For more than a year, the people in Belarus have resolutely taken to the streets for democracy, freedom and free elections and have not allowed themselves to be intimidated by the repressive measures and arbitrariness of the Lukashenko regime. They are risking a lot for this and I respect them for it. Among those affected by this state terror are also members of independent trade unions and workers like Hanna Ablab, who supported local strikes with work stoppages and was involved in a workers’ organisation in Belarus. On 22 September 2021, Hanna Ablab was imprisoned. I have taken on a godparenthood for her through the NGO Libereco and call on the Belarusian regime to release Hanna Ablab and all other political prisoners immediately! #WeStandBYyou.”
Anton Shnip is the drummer of the folk band IRDORATH, which took part in the demonstrations against the rigged presidential election in August 2020. Shnip and his band colleagues were arrested on 2 August 2021 for alleged “organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them” (Criminal Code, Art. 342).
Julian Pahlke is a member of the German Bundestag (Alliance 90/The Greens) and the godparent of Shnip. He demands: “Anton Shnip is one of countless political prisoners in Belarus. He, his bandmates and all people who demonstrate for democracy in their country despite massive repression have my utmost respect. His arrest and continued pre-trial detention is exclusively politically motivated. It is pure harassment. I demand the immediate and unconditional release of Anton Shnip. The other band members and all other political prisoners must also be released immediately.”