Persons under house arrest are still political prisoners
Three political prisoners released from pre-trial detention after Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to the KGB prison on October 10 have been placed under house arrest. Four more were subjected to less stringent restrictions, known as release on own recognizance.
As a result, Illia Salei, Vitaly Shklyarov and Liliya Ulasava will be confined to their homes until the end of the investigation. They are also prohibited from using the Internet or receiving visitors, even their family members.
Viasna human rights activists believe that such conditions amount to imprisonment. Therefore, Salei, Shklyarov and Ulasava are still called political prisoners.
“Given the serious and significant restrictions imposed as a result of house arrest, the Human Rights Center “Viasna” continues to view the three persons as political prisoners. They continue to be in strict isolation, have no right to leave their place of residence, and are limited in their ability to communicate with other people, so we consider house arrest as detention. The Guidelines for the Definition of Political Prisoners allows us to qualify these individuals as political prisoners. In fact, they are still hostages,” human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich explains.
“In this regard, we once again remind the Belarusian authorities of our demands: to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and to stop criminal prosecution against them. Fulfillment of these requirements will mean the release of political prisoners in the full sense of the word. And only if these conditions are met, we will be able to talk about the possibilities of a dialogue inside the country,” he said.
Thus, at the moment there are 94 political prisoners in Belarus.