Immediately release Viasna member Maryna Kastylianchanka!
Minsk — November 2, 2020
On October 30, 2020, a member of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and independent journalist Maryna Kastylianchanka was detained by representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in a cafe in Minsk.
Maryna was taken to the Zavodski District Department of Internal Affairs of Minsk, where she faced charges under Art. 23.34 (participation in an unauthorized mass event) and Art. 23.4 of the Administrative Code (disobedience to the legal demands of a police officer). Following this, Maryna was detained for 72 hours before the trial and placed in the pre-trial detention center.
According to the police reports, the activist was accused of allegedly taking part in an unauthorized picket on October 30, chanting slogans and disobeying police officers.
However, in reality she did not take part in any pickets that day and did not commit the offense she was accused of.
In this regard, Viasna's human rights activists consider her detention as arbitrary and illegal.
On November 2, the Zavodski District Court of Minsk ruled to sentence Maryna Kastylianchanka to 15 days of administrative detention.
In addition, Aliaksandr Paplauski, a volunteer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, was detained in the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk while monitoring the trials of the detained participants in peaceful demonstrations. Aliaksandr faced a charge under Art. 17.1 of the Administrative Code (petty hooliganism) for allegedly refusing to leave the courtroom at the order of a judge during a break. As a result, the volunteer was detained and spent the weekend in the pre-trial detention center.
On November 2, the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk adjourned his case to November 17, and Aliaksandr was released.
The detentions of Maryna Kastylianchanka and Aliaksandr Paplauski are yet another evidence of persecution and pressure on the activists of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, which intensified during the election campaign and in the post-election period.
Earlier, Marfa Rabkova, a member of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and coordinator of the organization’s volunteer service, and Andrei Chapiuk, a volunteer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, were arrested on criminal charges and detained in pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Minsk. Both are accused of participating in and preparing riots.
We, members of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", protest against the undisguised persecution and pressure on members of our organization and our volunteers for their legitimate human rights activities.
We stress that such activities are guaranteed to human rights defenders by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and international human rights standards, including the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, approved by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998.
We call on the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to:
- immediately release Maryna Kastylianchanka, a human rights activist of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, and cancel the decision of the Zavodski District Court of Minsk against her as illegal;
- terminate the initiated administrative proceedings against a volunteer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Aliaksandr Paplauski;
- stop all attempts of pressure and persecution against members of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and other Belarusian human rights activists.