The human rights organisation Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights welcomes the release of 25 political prisoners in Belarus during the past two months.
However Libereco is very concerned about the ongoing imprisonment of Dzmitry Bandarenka, Dzmitry Dashkevich, Eduard Lobau, Andrei Sannikau, Pavel Seviarynets and Nikolai Statkevich, who all have been detained within the framework of December 2010 presidential elections and were sentenced to long-term imprisonments.
Andrei Sannikau and Dzmitry Dashkevich are reportedly being subjected to punitive measures, psychological pressure and threats of violence in prison. Libereco urges the Belarusian authorities to guarantee the physical and psychological well-being of these two and all other prisoners.
The businessman Mikalai Autukhovich was already sentenced to 5 years in prison for political reasons in May 2010, some months before the election. Furthermore, Ales Bialiatski, Leader of Human Rights Center Viasna, is in custody since 4 August 2011. He is threated with a sentence of 7 years in prison. In early October Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok and Aliaksandr Frantskevich were recognised as 3 more political prisoners by the Belarussian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights Center Viasna.
Libereco, together with Members of German Bundestag and the Swiss Parliament, urges the Belarusian authorities to release all remaining eleven political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.
Philipp Mißfelder, Foreign Policy Spokesman of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group and Federal Chairman of the Young Union has taken over a prisoner’s godparenthood for Dzmitry Dashkevich and stated: „I learnt from reliable sources that the situation, in which Dzmitry Dashkevich finds himself, is absolutely shocking. He is being denied the most basic things like going for a walk in the fresh air, communication per mail, reading press articles or receiving food from outside the compound. This inhuman treatment is against the common objectives of civilised states. It only serves to break people’s will and destroy their soul. Therefore, I demand that the Belarusian government releases Dzmitry Dashkevich as political prisoner immediately,and that they show ways in which I can get in touch with Dzmitry Dashkevich.“
Swiss member of parliament Jean-François Steiert (SP) had adopted Ilya Vasilevich and stated: „The release of Ilya Vasilevich from his purely politically motivated imprisonement is a very positive first step. However, as long as more political prisoners are behind bars and their political engagement in their daily lives and in their jobs get hampered with, the international pressure in Belarus needs to keep its momentum.”
Bärbel Kofler, member of the executive committee of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, had taken on a prisoner’s godparenthood for Dzmitry Uss and stated: „I strongly welcome the release of Dzmitry Uss and of further 24 political prisoners in Belarus. The detention was against liberties and civil rights and by releasing them, a major injustice was corrected. I therefore demand the release of the remaining eight political prisoners because they just observed their human right of free spech.“
Franz Thönnes (SPD), a member of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, is the godparent of Nikolai Statkevich and stated: „Everyone who advocates democracy and human rights in Belarus is worth our highest respect. It is a shame that in todays civilised Europe you still have political prisoners who have to live under such terrible conditions. I see Nikolai Statkevich and others who are imprisoned, solely because of political reasons, as prisoners of conscience and I demand their immediate and unconditional release.“
Angelika Graf, deputy spokeswoman on human rights and humanitarian aid for the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, had taken on the godparenthood for 19 year old Siarhei Kazakou and comments on his release: „I am overjoyed to see that the public pressure and the work done by Libereco has resulted in that young man’s freedom! I hope that Siarhei Kazakou will continue in his efforts for freedom of opinion and democracy – without being threatened and intimated by the government. It is essential that the Belarusian public authority finally releases the remaining prisoners unconditionally and immediately.”