As part of the solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou of Libereco, Martina Munz, (National Council, SP, Switzerland), Delara Burkhardt (European Parliament, SPD, Germany) and Seán Haughey (Irish Lower House, Fianna Fáil, Ireland) have taken over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Yuliya Slutskaya is the founder and chairperson of the Press Club Belarus. Slutskaya was detained on December 22 at Minsk airport after her return to Belarus. On December 31, it became known that Yuliya Slutskaya was charged under Article 243 (“Evasion of taxes and fees on large scale”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code.
Martina Munz, Member of the Swiss National Council, has taken over the godparenthood for Yuliya Slutskaya and stated: “My solidarity is with the people who are standing up for freedom of expression, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. I stand with the oppressed people of Belarus and demand an immediate end to the violence, the release of all political prisoners and fair new elections under international election observation. In particular, I demand the release of Yuliya Slutskaya and am taking over her godparenthood. She is a courageous journalist, the founder of the Press Club Belarus and an advocate for freedom of expression. She was arrested on 22 December 2020 and, like many other victims of repression and violence, sits innocently in prison.”
Katsiaryna Andreyeva is a journalist for Belsat TV. She has been detained in a criminal case under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for haveing disturbed public order. Andreyeva had documented the violent actions of the police during a peaceful protest in Minsk.
Delara Burkhardt, Member of the European Parliament, has taken over the godparenthood for Katsiaryna Andreyeva and stated: “The independence of the press and the protection of journalists are not only in danger in Belarus, critical reporting is life-threatening. The imprisonment of Belsat TV journalist Katsiaryna Andreyeva is unacceptable and underlines the violations of the rule of law by the Belarusian government. I demand the immediate release of reporter Andreyeva, who has been detained since 15 November 2020, and all the other political prisoners!”
Vitold Ashurak is an opposition activist in Belarus. He has run for parliament several times. Ashurak was particularly active in environmental issues and campaigned against the harmful production of glass wool. He was detained on September 19 2020. Without giving the exact reasons, Judge Maksim Filatau ordered his trial to be held behind closed doors, invoking Article 23 (“Threat to State Security”) of the Belarusian Constitution. He sentenced Vitold Ashurak to 5 years in prison.
Seán Haughey T.D., member of Dáil Éireann, has taken over the godparenthood for Vitold Ashurak. On this occasion Seán Haughey T.D. stated: “I’m sponsoring Belarus political prisoner, Vitold Ashurak. His only “crimes” were campaigning against the harmful production of glass wool and honouring Kalinouski insurgents.”