Statement: Viasna strongly condemns use of torture, intimidation, blackmail and other intolerable kinds of harassment against prisoners of conscience
Minsk – 25 January 2012 The Human Rights Center “Viasna” strongly condemns the use of torture, intimidation, blackmail and other intolerable kinds of harassment against prisoners of conscience.
Of especial concern is the recent report by Mrs. Iryna Khalip, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau, saying that the prisoner’s life is at risk due to the reported use of torture and inhuman treatment against him. We view the two-month period of denying Sannikau’s access to lawyer’s assistance as direct evidence of the statement made by the political prisoner’s wife.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” respects the political prisoners’ petitions for pardon, considering they were written under threats of torture against them or their families. We welcome every measure aimed at their quickest release.
We consider the groundless and illegal change of prison security measures towards Mikalai Statkevich, Mikalai Autukhovich and Yauhen Vaskovich as an additional means of pressure on the political prisoners.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” demands an immediate release of all the prisoners of conscience and prosecution of those found responsible for the brutal violation of their rights, the use of torture and the illegal change of prison security measures.
We call upon international organizations and the governments of democratic countries to make it a condition that all political prisoners be promptly released and rehabilitated to resume any contacts with the Belarusian officials.