As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Moritz Körner (European Parliament, Free Democratic Party), Min Li Marti (Swiss National Council, Social Democratic Party) and Adis Ahmetovic (German Bundestag, Social Democratic Party) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Maksim Shatokhin was imprisoned on 19 July 2021 and is still a minor. Shatokhin was sentenced to three years in prison for “participating in riots” (Criminal Code, Art. 293).
Moritz Körner is a Member of the European Parliament (Renew Europe Group) and of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. He has taken on the godparenthood of Maksim Shatokhin and demands: “People who stand up for democracy and the rule of law must not be muzzled. I call for the immediate release of Maksim Shatokhin – a seventeen-year-old boy sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention centre in Belarus for mass unrest following the post-election protests. His and all other arbitrary and unlawful detentions must end.”
Dzmitry Navazhylau was the director of the BelaPAN news agency. He has been in pre-trial detention since 18 August 2021. He is charged with alleged “evasion of taxes and fees” (Criminal Code, Article 243) and “creation of an extremist formation” (Criminal Code, Article 361).
Min Li Marti is a member of the Swiss National Council and a publisher. She comments her godparenthood of Dzmitry Navazhylau: “As a journalist and parliamentarian, I am committed to a diverse and free press landscape and a strong democracy. It is appalling that my colleagues in Belarus are criminalised and imprisoned for their political and journalistic work. That is why I have taken on the godparenthood of my professional colleague Dzmitry Navazhylau, who has been imprisoned for six months on abstruse charges. I stand in solidarity with him and call on the Belarusian regime to release Dzmitry Navazhylau and all other political prisoners immediately and to respect the freedom of the press! I stand with all those who are working so courageously for democratisation in Belarus and are an inspiration to us democrats worldwide.”
Aleh Hruzdzilovich is a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In the summer of 2020, he reported on the 2020 political events, and in August 2020 his accreditation was withdrawn. On 23 December 2021, Hruzdzilovich was detained and charged with allegedly “organising activities that grossly violate public order” (Criminal Code, Art. 342).
Adis Ahmetovic is a member of the German Bundestag and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He has taken on the godparenthood of Hruzdzilovich and declared: “Aleh Hruzdzilovich is one of many journalists who have been innocently jailed for months for reporting on political events in Belarus. He was first detained on July 16, 2021, during mass searches of independent journalists in Minsk and other Belarusian cities, and was taken into custody by masked men in December 2021 after they broke down the door to his apartment. I am extremely concerned about the violent repression of peaceful demonstrators in Belarus, the suppression of freedom of expression as well as freedom of the press. I call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release Aleh Hruzdzilovich and recognize the freedom of the press, as well as the right to freedom of expression of citizens.”