Members of Parliament from Germany adopt political prisoners Volha Takarchuk, Yuliya Harachka and Siarhei Kapanets
As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Jamila Schäfer (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), Marlene Schönberger (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) and Olaf in der Beek (German Bundestag, Free Democratic Party) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Volha Takarchuk is a blogger and designer. She was arrested several times after the 2020 elections, most recently on 19 May 2021. On 20 December 2021, she was sentenced to 1.5 years imprisonment for the alleged “organization of actions that grossly violate public order” (Criminal Code, Art. 342), “insulting a judge” (Art. 391) and “defamation” (Art. 188).
Jamila Schäfer is deputy chair of Alliance 90/The Greens, a member of the German Bundestag and of the Foreign Affairs Committee. She has taken on the godparenthood of Volha Takarchuk and states: “There are still more than 950 people in prison as political prisoners in Belarus. We must work together to ensure that people like the blogger Volha Takarchuk do not disappear from the light of global publicity. By not forgetting their names and by showing solidarity. The European Union must not ease sanctions against the Lukashenko regime until all political prisoners have been released unconditionally.”
Yuliya Harachka is an activist with the NGO “Nash Dom” (“Our House”). She was detained on 14 July 2021 and charged with the alleged “organization of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them” (Criminal Code, Art. 342).
Marlene Schönberger is a member of the German Bundestag and a member of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology. Schönberger has become the godparent of Yuliya Harachka and states: “Here in Europe, at the gates of the EU, the courageous citizens of Belarus are fighting against Europe’s last dictatorship. Repression and an authoritarian style of government have been known to the population for a long time, but since the protests against the sham election in 2020, the brutality has intensified even more. My solidarity goes out to all people who stand up for freedom, democracy and fundamental rights. It is intolerable that protesters have to fear violence, imprisonment and torture. As a member of the German Bundestag, I consider it my responsibility not to look the other way and to draw attention to the situation of the political prisoners of Belarus. I have therefore decided to become the godparent of the activist Yuliya Harachka, who was arrested on 14 July 2021 and has been awaiting trial ever since. My demand is clear: the regime must release Yuliya and all other political prisoners!”
Siarhei Kapanets was arrested on 11 August 2020. He was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for the “organization of riots” (Penal Code, Art. 293) and the “organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order” (Penal Code, Art. 342).
Olaf in der Beek is a member of the German Bundestag. He is taking over the godparenthood of Kapanets from retired MP Rudolf Henke and demands: “Standing up for freedom, democracy and human rights must not be punished with imprisonment. Because Siarhei Kapanets peacefully expressed his free opinion on the presidential elections in Belarus, he was sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment under the pretext of “organising riots” as well as “organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order or actively participating in them”. As a democrat, I stand with Siarhei Kapanets and the Belarusian democracy movement. I call for the release of Siarhei Kapanets and all others unjustly imprisoned in Belarus.”