As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Michael Kruse (German Bundestag, Free Democratic Party), Andreas Audretsch (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) and Marcel Emmerich (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Yury Kuzmich was arrested on 2 October 2020. On 12 August 2021, he was sentenced to four years imprisonment for “participation in riots” (Criminal Code, Art. 293).
Michael Kruse, member of the German Bundestag (Free Democratic Party), takes over the godparenthood of Yury Kuzmich from former MP Wieland Schinnenburg. Kruse states: “The situation for people in Belarus who take to the streets for freedom, democracy and human rights has deteriorated extremely in the past weeks. More than 1000 people have now been imprisoned for their political commitment to these values. They are facing charges and long prison sentences. More than 900 people are recognised as political prisoners and their number is rising every day. These people need our support. We must not forget them. Everyone can set a sign here. I have taken on a godparenthood for Yury Kuzmich because his fate does not leave me untouched. My thoughts are with him and his family. Those who take to the streets for their rights, for freedom and democracy, are not criminals. I call on Alyaksandr Lukashenka to release him and all other political prisoners immediately.”
Yahor Martsinovich is editor-in-chief at the newspaper Nasha Niva. He has been in detention since 8 July 2021 and was charged with alleged “infliction of property damage without signs of theft” (Criminal Code, Art. 216).
Andreas Audretsch, a member of the German Bundestag for Alliance 90/The Greens, has become the godparent of Yahor Martsinovich and states: “Yahor Martsinovich is in custody together with three other colleagues of the newspaper Nasha Niva and there is a suspicion of physical abuse. This is a serious violation of the rights of Yohar Martsinovich and his colleagues and an attack on the freedom of press in Belarus. We – the parliamentary godparents of the political prisoners – make it clear that Lukashenko’s actions must not remain without consequences. Yahor Martsinovich, his colleagues from the Nasha Niva editorial office and all political prisoners must be released. Our solidarity goes out to them and to the free and democratic-minded citizens of Belarus!”
Aliaksandr Daineka is the deputy technical director of the independent news portal TUT.BY, against which a case was opened on 18 May 2021 for serious tax evasion (Criminal Code, Art. 243). In this context, the offices and homes of key staff members were searched and the news portal was blocked. Aliaksandr Daineka was arrested as a suspect.
Marcel Emmerich is a member of the German Bundestag (Alliance 90/The Greens). He has become the godparent of Aliaksandr Daineka and says: “I stand in full solidarity with the political prisoners in Belarus. It is not a criminal offence to oppose an illegitimate regime and its repressions under the leadership of a dictator. Every person who stands up for democracy and freedom of the press does his country a great service. That is why I have taken on the godparenthood of the prisoner Aliaksandr Daineka. He worked at the independent news portal TUT.by, which was blocked. Together with his fellow activists, he is risking a great deal in the fight for democracy, freedom and fair elections. I will continue to campaign for the release of all political prisoners and stand firmly by the side of the courageous people in Belarus. Our full solidarity and support goes to the Belarusian democracy movement.”