New 'godparents' for Belarusian political prisoners
As part of the solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou of Libereco, Robert Biedroń (European Parliament, Wiosna, Poland), Christine Jardine (House of Commons, Liberal Democrats, Great Britain) and Johann Wadephul (Bundestag, CDU, Germany) have taken over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Andrzej Poczobut is a journalist and member of the Union of Poles in Belarus. He was detained on 25 March and charged under article 130 (“incitement to hatred”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code.
Robert Biedroń, member of the European Parliament, has taken over the godparenthood for Andrzej Poczobut and stated: “The renewed and malicious attacks on Andrzej Poczobut and other representatives of the Polish minority in Belarus are part of coordinated anti-Polish and anti-EU propaganda by the regime. The charges brought against the activists – including ‘inciting hatred’ and ‘rehabilitation of Nazism’ – are completely absurd, but they fit well into the Orwellian narrative of the dictator. Andrzej is a prominent activist and a thorough journalist, who never shied away from revealing the truth about the Belarusian regime. Despite having been arrested more than a dozen times, he has always remained committed to his beliefs. To Andrzej and all political prisoners in Belarus: Don’t lose your hope and continue the fight. Together with my colleagues in the European Parliament we won’t rest until you are all released.”
Andrei Aliaksandrau is a journalist and media manager. He was detained on 12 January with his girlfriend Iryna Zlobina. On 15 January, in an official statement, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Henadz Kazakevich stated that Aliaksandrau and Zlobina had been detained “on suspicion of financing protest activities”.
Christine Jardine, member of the House of Commons, has taken over the godparenthood for Andrei Aliaksandrau and stated: “The conditions in which opposition activists like Andrei are being kept are not acceptable. Our Government must work with our European Partners to put pressure on the Belarusian Government to release those held on political charges.”
Ihar Salavei was detained on 3 September in connection with the riots in Pinsk. Salavei was later charged under article 293 (“participation in mass riots”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code.
Johann Wadephul, member of the German Bundestag, has taken over the godparenthood for Ihar Salavei. On this occasion Mr. Wadephul stated: “Supporting Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights e.V. with a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus is an important concern to me. The demonstrators are brave people who stand up for the protection of their rights and freedom in Belarus. I strongly condemn the fact that the Lukashenka regime is using violent repression against these women and men. Among them is the political activist and journalist Ihar Salavei, who has been in prison for over seven months. I have taken over his godparenthood and will stand up for him. I declare my full solidarity and support to him and to all other people in Belarus who suffer from repression and persecution.”