170 Parliamentarians from 16 European countries have signed a joint letter which is being sent to the heads of the 48 Belarusian prisons who hold political prisoners, and the Ministry of the Interior. The MPs call on the prison authorities to stop all violations and abuses of the rights of the prisoners in all Belarusian detention facilities.
The letter makes it clear to those responsible for the treatment of political prisoners that the world is aware of the abuses that have been happening, reminds them of their responsibility to honour Belarus’ international commitments to treatment of prisoners, and calls for the release of all political prisoners.
The letter was signed by parliamentarians from Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Libereco’s United Kingdom representative, Ken McBain, said, “It is important that those who are responsible for the life, health and safety of political prisoners in Belarus are aware that their unlawful and inhumane treatment doesn’t go unnoticed. We hope that receiving a personally addressed letter from so many European parliamentarians, from so many countries, will make them think about their responsibilities. They may feel they act with impunity and are anonymous, but the world is watching them.”
The letter from the MPs states: “We are aware of the abuses and basic rights that are denied political prisoners in Belarusian prisons. We know that detainees are put into crowded rooms without adequate clothes and sheets. We know that prisoners are denied their letters and parcels, denied meetings with their families and denied access to proper legal representation. We know that prisoners who require medical treatment are often denied access to doctors and the medication they require and that political prisoners are sent to punishment cells to put pressure on them because of their political views.
We call on you to stop these violations and abuses of the rights of the prisoners in all your detention facilities. The inhumane treatment of your prisoners, that we hear about so frequently, is unacceptable.”
The full letter and list of signatories is accessible here.
The letter campaign is a joint initiative of Libereco, Politzek.me, DissidentBY, the Co-ordination Council, Viasna, and the People’s Embassies of Belarus.
The full letter:
We, parliamentarians from across Europe, are writing to you representing the many peoples of Europe. Since 2020 we have been closely watching Belarus’s mass imprisonment of people who exercised their basic human right to protest against unfair elections and police violence. We see the oppression and abuses of people who express their political views and are denied freedom of conscience and speech. We witness the destruction of civil society, that tries to defend human rights and help the victims of unjust treatment. Along with the people of Europe, who we represent, we have watched with dismay at peaceful protestors’ imprisonment. We are aware of the abuses and basic rights that are denied political prisoners in Belarusian prisons. We know that detainees are put into crowded rooms without adequate clothes and sheets. We know that prisoners are denied their letters and parcels, denied meetings with their families and denied access to proper legal representation. We know that prisoners who require medical treatment are often denied access to doctors and the medication they require and that political prisoners are sent to punishment cells to put pressure on them because of their political views. As a member of the United Nations, Belarus has agreed to many treaties that commit to these rights, for example, “The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”. As the authorities over penitentiary institutions in Belarus, you are responsible for the treatment of the prisoners under your care, and responsible for complying with these international commitments. As parliamentarians who are passionate about freedom and justice, we call for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus. We also call on you to stop these violations and abuses of the rights of the prisoners in all your detention facilities. The inhumane treatment of your prisoners that we hear about so frequently is unacceptable. We will continue to watch Belarus closely and monitor the treatment of political prisoners. We hope for your compliance with the Treaties. Signed by all those below, Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, Austria Gudrun Kugler, Austria Hannes Heide, Austria Helmut Brandstätter, Austria Lukas Mandl, Austria Stephanie Krisper, Austria Thomas Waitz Austria Baroness Crawley, British Baroness Helena Kennedy Q.C, British Baroness Massey of Darwen, British Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick, British Brendan O'Hara, British John Howell, British Lord Balfe, British Lord Blencathra, British Lord Alton of Liverpool,British Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, British Lord Russell of Liverpool, British Maria Miller, British Rachel Maskell, British Sir Ed Davey, British Sir Tony Lloyd, British Tonia Antoniazzi, British Wendy Chamberlain, British Alexandra Louis, France Claude Kern, France Frédéric Petit, France Jacques Maire, France Nicole Trisse, France Agnieszka Brugger, Germany Alexander Müller, Germany Alois Rainer, Germany Anja Liebert, Germany Anja Reinalter, Germany Annette Widmann-Mauz, Germany Anton Hofreiter , Germany Armin Grau, Germany Axel Echeverria, Germany Beate Müller-Gemmeke, Germany Beate Walter-Rosenheimer, Germany Birgit Sippel, Germany Chantal Kopf, Germany Claudia Müller, Germany Claudia Roth, Germany Deborah Düring, Germany Delara Burkhardt, Germany Dietmar Koster, Germany Dr Nils Schmid, Germany Erik Marquardt, Germany Falko Mohrs, Germany Felix Banaszak, Germany Filiz Polat, Germany Frank Schwabe, Germany Franziska Brantner, Germany Gaby Bischoff, Germany Gyde Jensen, Germany Hanna Steinmüller, Germany Helmut Scholz, Germany Hubert Hüppe, Germany Jamila Schäfer, Germany Julian Pahlke, Germany Jürgen Hardt, Germany Kai Gehring, Germany Katarina Barley, Germany Katja Keul, Germany Konstantin von Notz, Germany Lisa Badum, Germany Lukas Benner, Germany Marcel Emmerich, Germany Maria Klein-Schmeink, Germany Markus Hümpfer, Germany Marlene Schönberger, Germany Max Lucks, Germany Merle Spellerberg, Germany Michael Gahler , Germany Michael Link, Germany Norbert Altenkamp, Germany Nyke Slawik, Germany Olaf in der Beek, Germany Renata Alt, Germany Ricarda Lang, Germany Robin Wagener, Germany Sabine Grützmacher, Germany Sabine Verheyen, Germany Sandra Bubendorfer-Licht, Germany Sebastian Schäfer, Germany Sergey Lagodinsky, Germany Stefan Gelbhaar, Germany Swantje Michaelsen, Germany Tabea Rößner, Germany Terry Reintke, Germany Tessa Ganserer, Germany Tobias Bacherle, Germany Barry Andrews, Ireland Barry Ward, Ireland Billy Kelleher, Ireland Brendan Griffin, Ireland Brendan Howlin, Ireland Cathal Berry, Ireland Cathal Crowe, Ireland Catherine Ardagh, Ireland Charlie Flanagan, Ireland Colm Markey, Ireland Deirdre Clune, Ireland Denis Naughten, Ireland Erin McGreehan, Ireland Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland Gary Gannon, Ireland Gerard Craughwell, Ireland Ivana Bacik, Ireland James Lawless, Ireland Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Ireland Jim O'Callaghan, Ireland Joe O'Reilly, Ireland Malcolm Byrne, Ireland Marian Harkin, Ireland Mary Seery Kearney, Ireland Neale Richmond, Ireland Rónán Mullen, Ireland Seán Haughey, Ireland Seán Kelly, Ireland Seán Sherlock, Ireland Timmy Dooley, Ireland Vincent P. Martin, Ireland Massimo Ungaro, Italy Rasa Jukneviciene, Lithuania Thijs Reuten, Netherlands Tineke Strik, Netherlands Krzysztof Śmiszek, Poland Michał Szczerba, Poland Tomasz Frankowski, Poland Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland Isabel Santos, Portugal Iulian Bulai, Romania Alexander Burnett, Scottish Bill Kidd, Scottish Liam McArthur, Scottish Mercedes Villalba, Scottish Paul Sweeney, Scottish Willie Rennie, Scottish Ivan Štefanec, Slovakia Miriam Lexmann, Slovakia Jordi Sole, Spain Anders Österberg, Sweden Björn Söder, Sweden Gudrun Nordborg, Sweden Gulan Avci, Sweden Håkan Svenneling, Sweden Heléne Björklund, Sweden Jens Holm, Sweden Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, Sweden Yasmine Posio, Sweden Barbara Gysi, Switzerland Benjamin Roduit, Switzerland Carlo Sommaruga, Switzerland Cedric Wermuth, Switzerland Celine Widmer, Switzerland Claudia Friedl, Switzerland Damien Cottier, Switzerland Fabian Molina, Switzerland Franziska Ryser, Switzerland Katharina Prelicz-Huber, Switzerland Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, Switzerland Marianne Streiff, Switzerland Martina Munz, Switzerland Mattea Meyer, Switzerland Nicolas Walder, Switzerland Priska Seiler Graf, Switzerland Samira Marti, Switzerland Stéfanie Prézioso, Switzerland