Human Rights House Network: Appeal for immediate release and full rehabilitation of all political prisoners
Arbitrary detention is used in Belarus against political opponents and persons exercising their freedoms of conscience, opinion and expression. The use of arbitrary detention as a tool of systematic repression of critical voices constitutes a serious violation of human rights as the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention underlines1. We urge the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to release all political prisoners and to compensate them for the harm suffered.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012, by HRHF
The recent liberation of Andrei Sannikov, presidential candidate at the December 2010 elections, and Dmitry Bondarenko, his deputy and one of the coordinators of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, has to be followed without delay by the release and full rehabilitation of all the remaining political prisoners in the country, including Ales Bialiatski, Head of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” in Belarus, Vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and one of the founders of the Belarusian Human Rights House in exile.
The detention of Ales Bialiatski since August 2011 illustrates a consistent pattern of restrictions to the rights to freedom of association and expression imposed in Belarus. Like many NGOs in Belarus, “Viasna” was repeatedly denied registration, a refusal that forced Ales Bialiastki to develop his human rights activities underground. This refusal was qualified as unfounded by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and is also in open violation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and of the recent United Nations declaration on human rights, democracy and rule of law.
Partner and member NGOs of the Human Rights House Network therefore call upon authorities to:
We therefore urge the authorities of the Republic of Belarus:
To immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, including Ales Bialiatski;
To expunge convictions of political prisoners and to reinstate them in their rights;
To ensure adequate compensation for the harm suffered by political prisoners and their families.