As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Ged Nash (Dáil Éireann, Labour Party), Katrin Uhlig (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) and Marlene Schönberger (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Alena Hnauk was arrested on 11 January 2022 and sentenced to three years of home confinement on charges of “organizing and preparing or actively participating in actions grossly violating public order” (Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code) and “defaming the Belarusian president” (Article 367). She was re-arrested in January 2022 and charged with additional counts.
Ged Nash, Member of the Lower House of the Irish Parliament (Dáil Éireann), has taken on the godparenthood for Alena Hnauk and comments as follows: “I stand with the political prisoner Alena Hnauk who is in jail for demanding free elections and democracy in Belarus. A range of independent human rights organisations have confirmed that she is currently in detention since January 2022 for participating in a peaceful demonstration to protest at the rigged 2020 presidential election. Prior to that she was subjected to a form of house arrest and some shorter periods in detention. Alena is one of some 70 participants in the famous ‘dancing protest’ on 13 September 2020 in the city of Brest who have since faced criminal charges. I demand that Alena be released immediately and that she and all her fellow citizens be free to exercise the right of peaceful assembly without fear of persecution.”
Maryna Dubrouskaya is an activist who supported Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s presidential election campaign in 2020. She was arrested on 9 July 2021 and charged with “financing the activities of an extremist group” under Art. 361-2. On 10 November 2021 she was released from pre-trial detention but placed under house arrest.
Katrin Uhlig, Member of the German Bundestag, declares on the occasion of taking on the godparenthood for Maryna Dubrouskaya: “I stand by the courageous people in Belarus who, despite the high personal price they pay for it, stand up for democracy and the rule of law in their country. I want to show them solidarity and respect. I have therefore taken on the godparenthood for Maryna Dubrouskaya. She has campaigned as a volunteer for democratic elections in Belarus, for which she was arrested, charged and placed under house arrest in December 2021. We will not forget about Maryna Dubrouskaya and her courage and commitment for democracy – even if we cannot contact her directly. Human rights are universal rights, and no political prisoner should be forgotten.”
Pavel Yukhnevich was arrested on 19 March 2021 and sentenced to four years of imprisonment under Article 342 (“Organisation and preparation of or active participation in actions grossly violating public order”) and Article 361 (“Calling for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus”).
Marlene Schönberger, Member of the German Bundestag, has taken on the godparenthood for Pavel Yukhnevich and says: “There are still hundreds of political prisoners in Belarus. One of them is Pavel Yukhnevich, a member of the election campaign team of opposition MP Viktar Babaryka. Yukhnevich was arrested on 19 March 2021, charged and sentenced to four years in prison. Violent suppression and repression of political opposition is a cowardly strategy used by dictators to secure their own power. Our full solidarity goes to Yukhnevich and the many other political prisoners who are fighting for the preservation of democracy, freedom and the rule of law and who fall victim to the repression of political protest in Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorial regime tramples on basic democratic values and human rights. As a member of parliament, I would like to use my reach to draw attention to the fact that opposition and political activism are a life-sustaining part of democracies. Prisoners in Belarusian jails are not forgotten, we see them! After Yuliya Harachka, for whom I had already taken on a godparenthood, was released, I decided to now adopt Pavel Yukhnevich.”