FIDH urges Belarus to free detained women and children
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has written to Belarusian Prosecutor General and chairman of the Investigative Committee, asking the officials to allow the release of women and children from detention centers for the period of preliminary investigation.
The FIDH has been informed of more than 700 criminal cases initiated in the aftermath of and in connection with the elections. Most of the defendants in these cases are held in custody in pretrial detention facilities. Among them are a few women and minors who have been isolated and separated from their families. To date, the FIDH is aware of names of 13 women detained in connection with the elections and held in various detention facilities of Belarus: Maryia (Marfa) Rabkova, Maryia Kalesnikava, Hanna Sunhurava, Alena Maushuk, Svialana Kupreyeva, Maryia Babovich, Natallia Hershe, Maryna Hlazava, Tatsiana Kaneuskaya, Antanina Kanavalava, Volha Klaskouskaya, Natallia Rayentava, Maryia Nestserava, and Alana Gebremariam.
Many of these women have young children and have been separated from their mothers for a long time. We also know of at least two minors held in pre-trial detention centers: Maksim Babich and Mikita Zalatarou.
"Keeping women and children isolated from their relatives and friends in Belarusian prisons, in conditions aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, does not facilitate national dialogue and will not lead to the establishment of trust within the society. We are adamant that in order to de-escalate the situation and overcome the serious human rights crisis that Belarus is currently facing, the Government of Belarus should release all detainees and convicts who were detained in connection with the electoral events," says the appeal signed by FIDH president Alice Mogwe.