Members of European parliaments take over godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Exactly one month before the presidential elections in Belarus, the German-Swiss human rights organisation Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights has launched a solidarity campaign for political prisoners in the EU neighbouring state.
In recent weeks, hundreds of arbitrary arrests have taken place throughout Belarus in the course of peaceful demonstrations and election campaign rallies. At present, more than 20 people are being detained and are threatened with long prison sentences for their political activities alone. Among these political prisoners are bloggers, members of election campaign teams of independent presidential candidates, and members of the opposition.
With the #WeStandBYyou campaign, Libereco is now calling for solidarity with all people in Belarus who are committed to free and fair elections, democratization of the country, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
“Our solidarity goes in particular to all political prisoners in Belarus, who must be released immediately. We must not stand idly by while people are persecuted by the state in the heart of Europe for simply exercising their basic rights to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Lars Bünger, President of the Swiss section of Libereco.
All those who stand at the side of the politically persecuted in Belarus can express their solidarity by using the hashtag #WeStandBYyou in the social media and spread the campaign motif there.
As part of the #WeStandBYyou campaign, MPs of European parliaments declare their willingness to take over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus and to work for their release.
Manuel Sarrazin, spokesperson for Eastern European policy of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, has taken over the godparenthood for the blogger Ihar Losik, who has been imprisoned since 25 June. Losik is the administrator of a telegram information channel with 172,000 subscribers and has been charged under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code. On the occasion of the takeover of the prisoner’s godparenthood, Manuel Sarrazin stated:
“As a member of the German Bundestag, I demand the immediate and unconditional release of Ihar Losik and all other political prisoners. Freedom of the press and freedom of opinion are not crimes. Freedom of the press and freedom of opinion are universal human rights that must be respected everywhere. The application of Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code is therefore a farce. This political repression is contemptuous of democracy and has nothing to do with the rule of law. The German Government and the EU must urgently consider tightening sanctions. Hundreds of arrests, repressions against journalists and bloggers, detention, exclusion or intimidation of all opponents are no basis for a policy of rapprochement, not even of small steps.”