German and Swiss MPs adopt political prisoners Hanna Ilyina, Katsiaryna Tkachenka and Siarhei Shelest
As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Ricarda Lang (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), François Pointet (Swiss National Council, Green Liberal Party) and Jan-Niclas Gesenhues (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Anna Ilyina is an activist and has been in detention since 26 July 2021. On 15 October 2021, she was sentenced to three years in prison for alleged “slander against the President of the Republic of Belarus” (Criminal Code, Art. 367).
Ricarda Lang is a member of the German Bundestag, the deputy leader of Alliance 90/The Greens and spokesperson for women’s policy. She has taken on the sponsorship of Hanna Ilyina and states: “The situation at the Belarusian border is still catastrophic. People have been trying to flee from Belarus to Poland for weeks. What is needed is not only humanitarian aid on the ground, but also tougher sanctions against Lukashenko. We must not forget that people who take to the streets for democracy in Belarus continue to be innocently arrested. One of them is Hanna Ilyina. She has been in prison since the end of July this year and has already been sentenced to 3 years in prison for insulting the president. As part of @liberecophr’s campaign for Belarusian prisoners, I have become her godparent. I call for Hannas Ilyina’s release and stand with all the people who stand up for freedom, democracy and fair elections in Belarus!”
Katsiaryna Tkachenka is a legal advisor for the independent news portal TUT.by, against which a criminal case for serious tax evasion (criminal code, Art. 243) was opened on 18 May 2021. As part of this case, the offices and homes of key staff were searched and the news portal was shut down. Tkachenka was arrested as a suspect.
François Pointet (Green Liberal Party) is a member of the Swiss National Council and vice chair of the Commission for Security Policy. On the occasion of taking over the godparenthood of Katsiaryna Tkachenka, he explains: “False accusations to cover up political arrests must stop. I therefore call on the Belarusian regime to release Katsiaryna Tkachenka and all other political prisoners. The freedom of the media must also be respected in Belarus.“
Siarhei Shelest was arrested on 20 September 2021 as part of a criminal investigation for “high treason” (Criminal Code, Art. 356) against numerous former employees of state-owned enterprises and representatives of the strike committees. Shelest was an employee of the state enterprise Grodno Azot.
Jan-Niclas Gesenhues, a member of the German Bundestag, has become the godparent of Siarhei Shelest. He demands: “The imprisonment of peaceful activists in Belarus is unacceptable. Taking part in a strike is not a crime It’s an exercise of the human rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. I therefore call for the immediate release of Siarhei Shelest and all other political prisoners held under flimsy conditions in Belarusian detention centres. Human rights are universal and must be respected worldwide – including in Belarus.”