Czech NGOs bid Belarus to free political prisoners
19th December, 2011
Today's first appeal was the morning solidarity event in front of Embassy of Belarus in Prague, calling for freeing Ales Bialiatski and other Belarusian political prisoners. This was followed by simulated arrests of students at the Charles University and by a flashmob in the centre of Prague. The event taking place on the anniversary of Belarusian presidential election was organized by the NGOs People in Need, NESEHNUTI, Amnesty International CR and Civic Belarus, in cooperation with the Belarusian community in Prague.
The year that has passed since 19th December 2010 was in Belarus affected by dozens of construed trials against people opposing the dictatorial regime. Besides participants of protests against the controversial elections, a trial was also held with the leader of the most significant Belarusian human rights organization Viasna, Ales Bialiatski. He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison with confiscation of his whole property for alleged tax evasion. Other trials with his colleagues are still on.
Although some of the sentenced participants of the post-election protests have throughout the year been released, six of them are still kept in prison, including two opposition presidential candidates. Five of the imprisoned persons are denied medical help despite their severe health conditions.
“Unfortunately, the last year has brought increasing repressions and violence in Belarus. It is also for this reason that we want to express our support to all people in Belarus who are still fighting for better conditions in their country. This morning we handed over to the Embassy in Prague the appeal to release Ales Bialiatski,” says Katerina Spacova from Civic Belarus.
The appeal to release Belarusian political prisoners was also joined by students of Charles University, Prague who participated in simulated student arrests on the premises of the Faculty of Social Sciences. The event took place this afternoon with the aim of giving local students the sense of the situation in Belarus, where students can be imprisoned for their opinions. It was organized by Prague's university group of Amnesty International.
Later during the day, a flashmob attended by 100 people ran through the centre of Prague commemorating the summer Silent protests. Lida Vackova from People in Need comments: “Czech people expressed their sympathy by picking up 80 postcards to be sent to Belarusian political prisoners, and tens of people signed the petition for releasing the political prisoners and imposing moratorium on death penalty.