As part of the solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou of Libereco, Oliver Kaczmarek (Bundestag, SPD), Christine Crawley (House of Lords, Labour Party) and Wendy Chamberlain (House of Commons, Liberal Democrats) have taken over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Viktoryia Hrankouskaya is a former student of the Belarusian National Technical University. She was expelled during the autumn protests in Belarus. Viktoryia was detained on November 12 as part of a criminal case under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for having disturbed public order.
Oliver Kaczmarek, Member of the German Bundestag and Deputy Chairman for the German-Belarusian Parliamentary Group, has taken over the godparenthood for Viktoryia Hrankouskaya and stated: “Viktoryia Hrankouskaya is one of the many people in Belarus who have been innocently imprisoned for months because of their peaceful protest against electoral fraud, violence and the regime of Alexander Lukashenka. To support the efforts to free Viktoryia Hrankouskaya, I have taken over the godparenthood for her. I demand that the student is released permanently. My other demands are clear: the release of all political prisoners, an immediate end to violence and repression against civil society, organisations and the media, and free and fair new elections.”
Dzmitry Zheburtovich was detained on October 7. He was taken to the police department, where he was beaten. Dzmitry’s apartment was searched the same day, and his computer, phone and other items were confiscated. He is charged under Article 293 (“participation in mass riots”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code.
Baroness Christine Crawley, member of the British House of Lords, has taken over the godparenthood for Dzmitry Zheburtovich and stated: “I am very concerned for the safety of Dzmitry Zheburtovich. This young man was beaten and detained at Akrescin Street Detention Centre, on his way to the shops, on October 7th 2020 and is being held against his will. I call on the authorities in Belarus to release Dzmitry Zheburtovich without delay and to recognise that they cannot continue crushing freedom of expression and criminalising their citizens.”
Pavel Drozd was detained on November 3 on suspicion of hacking the computer network of the Minsk City Executive Committee and on suspicion of committing acts that grossly violate public order. He was later charged under these articles of the Belarusian Criminal Code (Article 349 and Article 342).
Wendy Chamberlain, member of the British House of Commons, has taken over the godparenthood for Pavel Drozd. On this occasion Ms Chamberlain stated: “I was extremely concerned by the elections in Belarus last year, and the violent repression of peaceful protestors which followed was a violation of people’s rights and freedoms. Many of these protestors have been wrongly arrested and charged. Pavel Drozd is one such protestor, a 34 year old Belarusian man who was arrested on 3 November 2020 for alleged computer hacking. He was charged with the following: Art. 342 of the Criminal Code – Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them. Art. 349 of the Criminal Code – Unauthorized access to computer information. He is now being held in Pre-trial detention centre No. 8. I am following the lead of parliamentarians across Europe by “adopting” Pavel, and I am calling on the Belarusian government to secure Pavel’s release from prison. No one should be punished for taking part in peaceful protest, especially in defence of democracy.”