FIDH and Human Rights Centre “Viasna” demand to stop harassment of civil society activist Pavel Vinahradau
Paris - Minsk, October 14, 2014
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" protest and outrage over the illegal actions of the Belarusian authorities in respect to the opposition activist Pavel Vinahradau.
October 9, 2014, on the eve of the summit of the CIS countries and the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Minsk, Pavel Vinahradau was once again subjected to preventive arbitrary arrest for 15 days. The basis for the court verdict were testimonies of the police officers about alleged hooligan actions committed by the activist.
It should be noted that this is not the first case of arbitrary arrest and detention of Pavel Vinahradau by the Belarusian law enforcement agencies. Pavel is regularly subjected to such detention and arrest on the eve of various social and political events in the country. Over the last 10 months he was kept in prison for a total of 50 days. In addition, after hisrelease from the penal colony in Ivatsevichy in September 2011, where Pavel was serving a sentence for taking part in protests after the presidential elections on December 19, 2010, preventive supervisionwas established over him for more than two years.
According to Mr. Vinahradau, he is regularly threatened with criminal harassment and physical violence in order to force him to stop his peaceful activities and expression of views and protest, as well as to leave the city of Minsk at the time of preventive supervision. On the eve of in Minsk Ice Hockey World Championships in April 2014, as a result of similar threats by members of the Maskouski District Police Department of Minsk he had to leave the capital for the town of Berazino. This fact was mentioned in the joint report FIDN and the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" on the issue of arbitrary detention in Belarus.
It should be noted that the practice of arbitrary detention is widely used by the Belarusian authorities against opposition activists and has become systemic and systematic.
In this regard, FIDH and Human Rights Center "Viasna", state that:
actions of the Belarusian authorities against Pavel Vinahradau are illegal and have a political motive, being aimed at involuntary termination or modification of the public activities of Pavel Vinahradau;
deprivation of liberty (administrative detention for 15 days), as well as previous arrests were applied to Pavel Vinahradau solely in connection with his political beliefs;
these circumstances allow us to regard Pavel Vinahradau as a political prisoner for the time of his isolation.
In this regard, FIDH and Human Rights Center "Viasna" require the authorities of Belarus to:
immediately release Pavel Vinahradau and cancel all the illegal court rulings against him;
stop the practice of arbitrary detention and other forms of pressure and harassment against Pavel Vinahradau and other activists of the opposition groups and movements;
release all political prisoners held in prisons and correctional colonies of Belarus;
end the practice of persecution of dissidents in Belarus as a necessary condition for the normalization of the situation of human rights in the country.