Since the presidential election in August 2020 in Belarus, people are being detained daily. According to the OSCE, the election was rigged. Almost 300 people have been jailed for political reasons. For that reason, Libereco has launched a petition to the regime in Belarus and calls for the release of all political prisoners in Belarus immediately.

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Link to the petition:

Almost 300 people are currently being detained in Belarus as political prisoners. According to Libereco’s research, half of them have already been sentenced to prison terms. The unjust prison terms amount in total to over 400 years.

“On March 18, the International Day of Political Prisoners, we are launching a petition to the Belarusian regime demanding the immediate release of all political prisoners. We declare our solidarity with all the politically persecuted in Belarus. We call on Switzerland, the EU and the UN not only to condemn the human rights violations, but to impose harsh measures and economic sanctions on Belarus as long as the political prisoners are not released,” states Lars Bünger, President of Libereco Switzerland. 

The political prisoners in Belarus are being detained without any legal basis. Most of the political prisoners are accused of having disturbed public order or having taken part in mass protests. The prisoners are being held in detention under inhumane conditions. They are put in overcrowded cells, while the sanitary conditions are inadequate. In addition, prisoners are threatened with violence by prison guards and even systematic torture. 

Among the political prisoners is Maria Kolesnikova. Her sister Tatsiana Khomich had to leave Belarus for security reasons and calls for the signing of Libereco’s petition: “You may have heard the story of a Belarusian woman who tore up her passport at the border when the police tried to force her out of the country. This is the story about my sister, Maria Kolesnikova. Within a few months, Maria became a symbol of freedom in Belarus. She inspired millions of Belarusians and people from all over the world with her courage and her attitude. Even now, while she is in prison, she continues to be an inspiration for us Belarusians. When I think of Maria, I cannot help but to think about all other political prisoners. I know that many people have to live in inhumane conditions. The rule of law and the respect for human rights do not exist in Belarusian prisons. People are denied meetings with relatives. There is no possibility of private communication with the prisoners. Often prisoners do not receive medical care in time. Some of the prisoners see no other way out than to try to take their own lives or to go on hunger strike. Please sign Libereco’s petition and call on the Belarusian regime to release my sister Maria and all the other political prisoners.”

Several political prisoners see hunger strikes as the only way to protest against the inhumane prison conditions and their imprisonment. The Belarusian musician Igor Bancer has been on hunger strike since March 3, while the political prisoners Dzmitry Furmanau and Ihar Losik ended their hunger strike on Monday and Wednesday this week. Ihar Losik and Siarhei Piatrukhin even attempted suicide in prison.

The wording of the petition:

Almost 300 people are currently being detained in Belarus for exercising their human rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

We consider these detainees to be political prisoners and call on the Belarusian regime to release them immediately and unconditionally.

We call on all state authorities in the Republic of Belarus to immediately end the intimidation, persecution and imprisonment of peaceful demonstrators, opposition activists, human rights defenders, students and media representatives.

The imprisonment of political prisoners and the persecution of political dissidents are serious violations of human rights. Belarus is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and has therefore committed itself to respect human rights.

We would like to remind the Belarusian authorities of the international obligations of your country and call on you to adhere to the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly without restrictions.