Amnesty International recognizes Yury Rubtsou prisoner of conscience
The human rights organization Amnesty International has recognized Yury Rubtsou a prisoner of conscience and considers the sentence to him as a part of the long-term campaign of persecution of civil society activists by the Belarusian authorities.
The organization reported about it on June 10, announcing an urgent action for his release. Amnesty International calls on the international community to send appeals to the President and the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus, pointing out at the same time that Yury Rubtsou is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, to demand from the Belarusian authorities his immediate and unconditional release as well as the cessation of harassment and intimidation of civil society activists, and remind them of their obligations under international law to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
Chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski notes that the Belarusian human rights defenders have regarded him as a political prisoner since the very beginning of his harassment and says that his recognition as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International is a very important fact.
“First of all, it is moral support to Yury Rubtsou, who is currently in hard circumstances, and who has been sentenced to two years in the penal colony. His recognition as a prisoner of conscience will let him endure this hard time and to maintain the strength of spirit,” said Ales Bialiatski, a former prisoner of conscience. “I believe that it is a signal to the international human rights community, to the Belarusian authorities and the Belarusian society that the case of Yury Rubtsou has clear political implications."
According to the human rights activist, it also witnesses that international human rights organizations including Amnesty International as one of the most authoritative, vigilantly watch the situation of human rights in Belarus, continue their monitoring and try to influence the unfair verdicts of the Belarusian authorities.
May 28, 2015, prisoner of conscience Yury Rubtsou, a civil society activist from Homieĺ, was sentenced to 2 years in the penal colony by Pružany District Court. This extended the initial 18-month term of personal restraint, to which he was sentenced in October 2014 for “insulting the judge” (Article 391 of the Criminal Code). According to the accusation, Yury Rubtsou declined several job offers in the open correctional facility in Pružany district of Brest region, where he was serving his term. He was charged under Article 415 of the Criminal Code, “evasion from serving the penalty”. However, the witnesses stated at the trial that he didn't principally refuse to work, but did it as a sign of protest against the low wages in the prison system. Mr. Rubtsou is appealing the verdict and is currently held in the remand prison in the city of Baranavičy.