Immediately release political prisoner Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya!
Joint statement of Belarusian human rights organizations
April 12, 2021
On April 5, the police searched the apartment and the summer house of human rights activist Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya, as well as the office of the association Zvyano, which she heads. Tatsiana and four other people involved in the exhibition “Machine is Breathing and I Am Not”, dedicated to Belarusian doctors and the challenges they have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the politicization of the health care system, were detained and placed in the detention center in Akrestsin Street. It later became known that all five had stood administrative trials and were found guilty of disobeying lawful orders or demands of law enforcement officers. Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya was sentenced to a fine of 1,450 rubles. However, Tatsiana was not released from the detention center, but was re-arrested as part of a criminal case and transferred to the pre-trial detention center in Valadarski Street.
Reaffirming the position set out in the joint statement of the Belarusian human rights community on the detention of human rights defenders Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya and Enira Branitskaya, we consider the persecution of Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya to be politically motivated, as it is aimed at sanctioning her public and nonviolent activities for the sake of protecting fundamental rights freedoms. Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya is therefore a political prisoner, according to para. 3.1 (b) of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners.
In this regard, we, representatives of human rights organizations of Belarus, call on the Belarusian authorities to:
- immediately and unconditionally release Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya, a human rights activist and head of the association Zvyano, and drop the criminal charges she is facing.
- ending harassment and pressure on all human rights defenders in the country, as well as prosecuting Belarusian human rights defenders and civil society activists for their legitimate activities, including educating, providing legal, charitable and other assistance to victims of human rights violations;
- immediately release all political prisoners and put an end to political repression;
- respect the country’s obligations with regard to providing guarantees of human rights activities and take all necessary measures for this purpose.
Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Center for Legal Transformation “Lawtrend”
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Belarusian Documentation Center
Belarusian Association of Journalists