As part of Libereco’s #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign, German Members of Parliament Birgit Sippel (European Parilament, SPD), Konstantin von Notz (German Bundestag, Bündnis’90/Die Grünen) and Maria Noichl (European Parliament, SPD) are taking over godparenthoods of political prisoners in Belarus.
Eduard Kudyniuk is a minor from Brest who was sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention center by the Lieninski District Court for alleged participation in mass unrest (Article 293 of the Belarusian Criminal Code).
Birgit Sippel, member of the European Parliament, has taken over the godparenthood for Eduard Kudyniuk and explains: “Together with the organization Libereco I would like to support Eduard Kudyniuk with the godparenthood and give important attention to the serious situation in Belarus! I call on Alexander Lukashenko: Release Eduard and the hundreds of other political prisoners immediately! The people in Belarus are fighting for democracy and freedom. The time of oppression must end!”
Leanid Sudalenka is a human rights activist and chairman of the regional office of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in Gomel. He has been working for human rights for 20 years. He has provided free legal assistance, including preparing individual complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of Belarusian citizens whose rights have been violated by the government. In 2020, Leanid Sudalenka provided legal assistance in challenging court rulings issued for participation in peaceful gatherings in Homieĺ after the August 9 presidential election. He was arrested on January 18 and taken to a pretrial detention center. On January 28, Sudalenka was formally charged under Article 342 parts 1 and 2 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (organizing and preparing acts seriously violating public order and financing such acts).
He is in pre-trial detention center No. 3 in Gomel.
Konstantin von Notz, member of the German Bundestag, has taken over the godparenthood of Leanid Sudalenka and states: “Leanid Sudalenka, whose godparenthood I am honored to take over, has been fighting for more than twenty years as a volunteer legal counsel for Belarusians and Belarusians whose human rights have been violated by the state. Despite regular attempts at intimidation by the government, the internationally recognized and awarded human rights activist has never stopped standing up for his fellow men with courage and determination. Now is the time to stand in solidarity for him, as well as all the other activists who fight every day for the democratic pillars, respect for human rights and the rule of law. As a democrat, I call for immediate due process and the release of Leanid Suldalenka and all other unjustly imprisoned people in Belarus. The Belarusian government must immediately put an end to the violence, repression and arbitrary arrests, guarantee free and fair elections, and finally ensure democracy and the rule of law.”
Volha Klimkova was stopped by traffic police in Mahilioŭ on November 24, 2020. She was transporting more than 800 copies of the unregistered newspaper Mogilevskie Vesti. The next day she was arrested and her apartment was searched. Volha was charged under Article 339 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (hooliganism committed by a group) and Article 368 (insulting the president). She and two other defendants are accused of making six posters with “cynical inscriptions and images of high-ranking officials,” placing them in overpasses near the city, photographing them, and distributing the images on the internet. On April 19, 2021 Volha Klimkova was sentenced by the court of the city of Kruhlaje to 3.5 years and in a penal colony. She is serving this sentence in prison No. 4 in Mahilioŭ.
Maria Noichl, Member of the European Parliament, has taken over the godparenthood of Volha Klimkova. On the occasion of the godparenthood, Ms. Noichl states: “Volha Klimkova was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison on April 19, 2021. She is a political prisoner, and the accusations against her can only be understood by me, who was allowed to grow up in a democracy with freedom of opinion and freedom of the press, as arbitrariness of a totalitarian regime. Volha has known what the regime in Belarus is capable of and has not been deterred. She fights for her rights and those of all people in Belarus. Volha’s courage and attitude are exemplary. She and all political prisoners are the light in the darkness of the dictatorship in Belarus. Therefore, it is necessary to support the democracy movement and I clearly call on Mr. Lukashenko to release Volha and all other political prisoners immediately!”