German MPs adopt political prisoners Liudmila Chekina, Iryna Slaunikava and Viktar Fianchuk
As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Tessa Ganserer (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), Thomas Hacker (German Bundestag, Free Democratic Party) and Hanna Steinmüller (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Liudmila Chekina is a Director General at the independent news portal TUT.BY, against which a criminal case for serious tax evasion (Criminal code, Art. 342) was opened on 18 May 2021. As part of this, the office and homes of key staff were searched and the news portal was blocked. Chekina was arrested as a suspect.
Tessa Ganserer, member of the German Bundestag (Alliance 90/The Greens) has taken over the godparenthood of Liudmila Chekina and says: “I admire the commitment of the many people in Belarus who are working for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and independent reporting at the greatest personal risk. I want to express my full solidarity to all of them and I want to assure them that “WE STAND BY YOU!” We support you in the fight against the Lukashenko regime! For this reason I demand the immediate and unconditional release of Liudmila Chekina as well as of all other unjustly imprisoned political prisoners. This injustice, violence and oppression of the citizens of Belarus is unacceptable.”
Iryna Slaunikava, a journalist at Belsat TV, was arrested on 30 October 2021. She has been charged with alleged “Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them” (Criminal code, Art. 342)
Thomas Hacker is a member of the Bundestag (Free Demoratic Party) and a member of the Committee on European Union Affairs. On the occasion of his godparenthood of Iryna Slaunikava, he states: “It is a battle that is almost impossible to win – and that is precisely why the courageous Belarusians will be victorious in the end. Because freedom and democracy are always stronger than a dictatorship! The Lukashenka regime is still trying to secure its power. Almost 900 political prisoners are currently awaiting their show trials or have already been sentenced. Among them many bloggers, journalists and media workers who simply reported on a system in decline – one of them: Iryna Slaunikava. Her courageous stand for freedom is more than an inspiration, it is a call for our fullest solidarity. We stand with the brave Belarusians like Iryna Slaunikava.”
Viktar Fianchuk is the former director of the NGO “APB BirdLife Belarus”, which aims to pretect birdlife. Following a search of APB Birdlife’s offices, Fianchuk was arrested on 31 August 2021. He was charged with alleged ” Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them” (Criminal Code, Art. 342).
Hanna Steinmüller, member of the German Bundestag (Alliance90/The Greens), has taken on the godparenthood of Viktar Fianchuk and explains: “Every person has the right to express their opinion freely, to participate, but also to voice political criticism. In Belarus, peaceful demonstrators are fighting for their universal human rights. Instead of granting rights and seeking dialogue with its citizens, the regime in Belarus relies on brutal violence, show trials and draconian punishments. The Belarusian government’s crackdown on the democratic opposition, independent media and non-governmental organisations must stop. Viktar Fianchuk wanted to use his rights and took part in a demonstration against the government. He has been detained by the Belarusian government since August 2021 for political reasons, because he was campaigning for an open civil society. I condemn this injustice and demand the immediate release of Viktar Fianchuk and all other political prisoners. Universal human rights are due to all people and must not be restricted by any regime.”