Souhayr Belhassen Establishes Committee in Defense of Andrei Klimau
On 1 November the visit of the president of the International Federation for Human Rights Souhayr Belhassen to Belarus ended. At the resulting press conference she stated that ‘the political regime of Belarus was the most repressive one in Europe’ and the charges against Dashkevich and Finkevich were ridiculous.
On return to France Mrs. Belhassen intends to establish an international committee in support of Andrei Klimau and propose well-known activists to join it. ‘Klimau was placed in a jail 328 kilometers away from Minsk, which is revolting. He does not fall under amnesty. There appears a question: what was this amnesty invented for? As a result of bad treatment Klimau has received a heart illness. We think that the officials are responsible for his psychological and physical state. The man wrote that he was afraid to remain alive, because in this case he would see a yet worse hell – it witnesses that he is kept in unbearable conditions.’
Urgent measures will also touch other political prisoners. According to Souhayr Belhassen, all European representatives must ask for being admitted to the trial of Zmitser Dashkevich, otherwise the trial will be closed.
The FIDH will also support the consideration of the complaint concerning Aliaksandr Kazulin by the UN Committee on Human Rights.
‘A European country has four prisoners of conscience – it is an absolutely scandalous fact. It is necessary to mobilize the European community so that all of them will be released.’
In Minsk and Hrodna Souhayr Belhassen met with the relatives of the political prisoners, representatives of political parties and NGOs.
The ministries of justice, information, foreign and internal affairs ignored the propositions to meet. Mrs. Belhassen said: ‘They have much to hide, that’s why they did not meet with me. I wanted to speak about concrete cases, and it is not quite pleasant to listen to bitter truth. They did not want to appear in a situation where they would have to justify their actions and look for arguments.’
Souhayr Belhassen called her visit a sign of support to human rights activists, oppositional parties and NGOs.
‘I wanted to visit this European country with the most repressive political regime in Europe. Belarus is a black hole in Europe and it is an abnormal situation. It is not enough to simply ban entrance to Europe for the people who have relation to kidnaps.
We need to remain vigilant, to continue our work and remember about the cases of the missing people so that the justice could be restored and the victims could receive compensation.
I was struck by the fact that in Belarus there remains no place for social freedom. Even small entrepreneurs are pressurized by the state.
We need to attentively watch the Social march of 4 November, not to let repressions take place.’
Souhayr Belhassen also had some positive impressions from her visit: ‘Despite the repressions, in Belarus there are young people, political parties and NGOs and trade unions who mobilize themselves and oppose the repressions. Today their motto is resistance.
I met young people, who actively work in order to lead this country to democracy. I appreciate their courage.’