As part of the solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou of Libereco, Frances Fitzgerald (European Parliament, Fine Gael, Ireland), Samira Marti (National Council, SP, Switzerland) and Ralf Kapschack (Bundestag, SPD, Germany) have taken over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Volha Paulava became a member of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s nomination group during the 2020 election. After the election Volha took part in protests. She was detained four times. Volha was last detained at a rally staged to commemorate the death of protester Raman Bandarenka, after which a criminal case was opened against her.
Frances Fitzgerald, member of the European Parliament, former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland and a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights, has taken over the godparenthood for Volha Paulava and stated: “I am standing with the people of Belarus and calling for the release of illegally detained prisoners including the courageous Volha Paulava who I am sponsoring. Volha Paulava is a young woman who should experience the same freedoms and rights as all women across Europe today. #WeStandBYyou”
Uladzislau Zianevich is an anti-fascist from Minsk. He was detained on November 30 under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for having disturbed public order. During his first arrest on November 1 he was severely beaten.
Samira Marti, member of the Swiss National Council, has taken over the godparenthood for Uladzislau Zianevich and stated: “Uladzislau Zianevich is a 21-year-old anti-regime activist and anti-fascist from Belarus. On 1 November he was arrested for the first time due to his political views and was brutally beaten by repressive forces for taking part in peaceful protests. He was fined and his apartment was searched. He has been in politically motivated detention again since 30 November for peacefully resisting the illegitimate regime of dictator Lukashenka. In prison, he is again threatened with physical violence and sexual abuse; more than 1,000 reports have already been collected from protesters documenting torture by the repressive state. As a godparent for Uladzislau Zianevich and a member of parliament for the Social Democratic Party, I am campaigning for him and all political prisoners in Belarus to be freed immediately, for Lukashenka to step down and for new elections to be held quickly and fairly. Solidarity with the people of Belarus! #WeStandByYou”
Raman Hvazdziolka was detained on October 20 on suspicion of involvement in the riots in Brest on August 10. He is charged under Article 293 (“participation in mass riots”) of the Belarusan Criminal Code. He celebrates his 26th birthday tomorrow on January 30.
Ralf Kapschack, member of the German Bundestag, has taken over the godparenthood for Raman Hvazdziolka. On this occasion Mr Kapschak stated: “The protests in Belarus are still continuing: Against ruler Lukashenka and for free elections. A report by Amnesty International once again shows the brutality with which the regime is acting against peaceful protest. Many of the demonstrators end up in prison. I have taken over a godparenthood for one of them, Raman Hvazdziolka. He has been imprisoned for months and will turn 26 this weekend.”