THE SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH PUBLISHES LETTER OF SHEFFIELD GROUP OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL IN SUPPORT OF BELARUSIAN DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY
Letter printed in the Sheffield Telegraph
From Andrew Madden
Graham Jones from Pitsmoor was both surprised and delighted when he found a
letter he had drafted being displayed on a website in Belarus, the
former Soviet state.
Graham, a member of the Sheffield group of the human rights organisation,
Amnesty International, has long taken an interest in human rights in the
countries of the former USSR. His letter was originally sent as a
petition to President Lukashenka of Belarus, and appeals on behalf of
several named prisoners who have been imprisoned (and possibly tortured)
merely for expressing their non-violent views. It has now been translated
into Russian and posted on the website of Viasna, a Belarus-based human
rights organisation that Graham describes as "very courageous" and doing
"great work in very difficult circumstances".
Belarus has been described as the last dictatorship in Europe: press freedom
is non existent; political opponents of the regime are persecuted, and many have
simply "disappeared". Belarus is the only European country which
still carries out executions.
The Sheffield Group of Amnesty International hope to continue their links
with the brave people of Viasna in 2004 and work together to restore human
rights to Belarus.