MPs from Scotland, Switzerland and the Netherlands adopt political prisoners Aliaksandr Ivulin, Volha Mayorava and Maksim Viniarski
As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Liam McArthur (Scottish Parliament, Liberal Democrats), Priska Seiler Graf (Swiss National Council, SP) and Tom van der Lee (Netherlands, Tweede Kamer, GroenLinks) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Aliaksandr Ivulin is a football player for FC Krumkachy and runs the YouTube channel Chestnok. He was arrested on 3 June 2021 and sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention for allegedly displaying a flag. After that, he was not released but taken to a pre-trial detention centre for alleged “acts of a group grossly disturbing public order” (Belarusian Criminal Code, Article 342). He has been awaiting trial since then.
Liam McArthur is a member of the Scottish Parliament and its Deputy Presiding Officer. Upon taking on godparenthood for Aliaksandr Ivulin, he stated:”Aliaksandr’s imprisonment, and that of hundreds of others like him in Belarus, is utterly abhorrent. I am honoured to have been asked to adopt Aliaksandr and join the call for his release, and I join my fellow elected representatives, both in Scotland and across Europe, in condemning the authoritarian state in Belarus for its brutal suppression of basic freedoms. I urge the Belarusian government to respect the fundamental human rights of the Belarusian people, and to free all those who have been wrongfully detained.”
Volha Mayorava is a political activist, formerly an active member of the United Civil Party. She was detained without charges on 4 January 2021 and has been in pre-trial detention ever since.
Priska Seiler Graf, Swiss National Councillor, has taken on the godparenthoof of Volha Mayorava. She stated: “As a godparent of Volha Mayorava and a National Councillor for the Social Democrats, I am demand that she and all political prisoners in Belarus are freed immediately. Lukashenko must step down and new elections must be held quickly and fairly! Human rights are the foundation of a constitutional state and are non-negotiable.”
Maksim Viniarski is an activist of the opposition group “European Belarus” and a long-standing opponent of the current political regime. On 22 January 2020, he was arrested and charged with “preparation for participation in mass riots” (Belarusian Criminal Code, Article 293). On 25 May 2021 he was sentenced to five years in a penal colony.
Tom van der Lee, Member of the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer), has taken on godparenthood for Viniarski and demands: “I urge Lukashenko to free Maksim Viniarski and all other political prisoners in Belarus. They are fully entitled to stand up against authoritarianism. I support the #westandBYyou campaign.”