Human Rights Center "Viasna" welcomes release of six political prisoners and calls on authorities to take more steps aimed at systemic changes of human rights situation in Belarus. A statement.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna"
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" welcomes the release of six political prisoners and calls on the authorities to take more steps aimed at systemic changes in the field of human rights in Belarus
On August 22, it was reported that President Aliaksandr Lukashenka pardoned and released from prison six political prisoners: Mikalai Statkevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Ihar Alinevich, Yury Rubtsou, Artsiom Prakapenka, and Yauhen Vaskovich.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" welcomes the release of the six political prisoners and notes the following:
- the release of political prisoners and their rehabilitation have always been one of the key demands of both the Belarusian and the international human rights community.
- conditions of the release of all the six former political prisoners do not provide for the restoration of their civil and political rights, as their convictions have not been removed from official records. This fact allows the authorities to exercise control over their lives and their social and political activities, and under certain conditions can be used for their further isolation. The unserved sentences deprive each of them of the right to run in elections at all levels.
- Youth activists Vadzim Zharomski and Maksim Piakarski are currently held in custody at the Minsk-based pre-trial jail No. 1, while their prosecution, in our opinion, is politically motivated.
- Absence of steps aimed at systemic changes in the field of human rights protection in the country holds open the possibility of judicial harassment for political reasons. It is only real progress aimed at abandoning current repressive laws and practices limiting civil and political rights, the restoration of wide political pluralism and media freedoms, as well as the willingness of the country’s government to fulfill their constitutional and international obligations to protect human rights that can safeguard against further manifestations of repression towards dissidents and opponents of the government.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" calls on the Belarusian authorities to:
- take steps towards full restoration of the civil and political rights of the six former political prisoners.
- cancel all the procedural decisions that allow the pre-trial detention of Vadzim Zharomski and Maksim Piakarski.
- take steps to further improve the human rights situation in Belarus.
Minsk. August 24, 2015.