Release of Dmitri Bondarenko and Andrei Sannikov

Joint Statement of Marieluise Beck, Member of German Bundestag, and Marek Migalski, Member of European Parliament:

“We welcome the long awaited release of former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and his authorized representative, Coordinator of the movement “European Belarus” Dmitri Bondarenko.

We must, however, point out that at least 13 Belarusian political prisoners – Ihar Alienevich, Mikalai Autukhovich, Ales Bialiatski, Dzmitry Dashkevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Siarhei Kavalenka, Eduard Lobau, Artsiom Prakapenka, Pavel Seviarynets, Mikalai Statkevich, Pavel Syramalotau and Yauhen Vaskovich – are still being held in prisons and other places of detention. There must be an end to persecution of all Belarusian opposition politicians, civil and human rights activists.

We urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately release all political prisoners and withdraw the charges against them. We are convinced that prosecutions over the events of 19 December 2010, are not in keeping with international standards for a fair trial, and the sentences passed were politically motivated. We also call for an immediate moratorium on the use of the death sentence.

Belarus is not an acceptable scene for the Ice Hockey World Championship 2014 as long as political prisoners are being held in Belarusian penal camps. We urge the International Ice Hockey Federation to shift the World Championship 2014 to another country.”

Marieluise Beck and Marek Migalski were the godparents of Andrei Sannikov and Dmitri Bondarenko in the Prisoner’s Godparenthood campaign for political prisoners in Belarus initiated by the human rights organisation Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights.

Together with other human rights organisations Libereco launched an international campaign for the removal of the Ice Hockey World Championship 2014 from Belarus: