Sad record: 1000 political prisoners in Belarus
The Belarusian Human Rights Center Viasna considers at least 1000 people to be political prisoners of the Lukashenko regime. Libereco demands EU entry bans for all prosecutors and judges responsible for prosecuting and sentencing political prisoners.
The Belarusian Human Rights Center Viasna, together with other Belarusian human rights organisations, today recognised 12 more cases of political prisoners as such. This is the first time since the country’s independence in 1991 that more than 1000 people have been imprisoned for political reasons on a long-term basis in Belarus.
“It is a very depressing statistic that our colleagues from Belarus have had to keep for years. The number of political prisoners was still 160 at the end of 2020 and has been reaching new sad record highs ever since. In addition to the 1000 political prisoners, hundreds of other people are imprisoned for political reasons. Their cases are constantly reviewed and added to the list of political prisoners,” says Lars Bünger, President of Libereco Switzerland.
The Belarusian Human Rights Center Viasna documents all cases of political prisoners on the internet and, despite severe repression, continues to campaign for their release.
All social and professional groups affected by repression
“A thousand political prisoners in Belarus and thousands of repressed citizens – this is not anywhere near the end of the persecution of the Belarusian people who fought for the opportunity to independently choose their government in free and democratic elections, freely exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Human rights defenders and journalists, politicians and activists, elderly people and students, workers and officials – there is no such social or professional group that would not be affected by the repression. We must remember and speak about them, support them and their families, fight for their release and restoration of democracy in Belarus,” says Pavel Sapelko of Viasna.
In the meantime, 270 members of European parliaments from 16 countries have already taken on a symbolic godparenthood for a political prisoner in Belarus under the slogan #WeStandBYyou. Together with Libereco, the MPs are campaigning for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
“The prisoner’s godparenthood are an important sign of solidarity with the people of Belarus – but politicians can do much more. There are hundreds of prosecutors and judges in Belarus who are directly responsible for prosecuting and sentencing political prisoners. They must all be sanctioned with bans on entering the EU. The propaganda broadcasters of Belarusian state television and their leading employees and propagandists also belong on the EU sanctions list,” demands Jan-Henrik Wiebe, spokesperson of Libereco Germany.
Libereco addresses the following demands to European politics:
- No recognition of the criminal Lukashenko regime, not even indirectly by handing over credentials of foreign ambassadors to Lukashenko.
- Entry bans and sanctions against all judges and prosecutors responsible for sentencing political prisoners.
- Sanctions against the broadcasters of Belarusian state television and their leading employees and propagandists.
- Banning of the red-green Belarusian flag because it is a symbol of the terrorist Lukashenko regime.
- Exclusion of Belarusian banks from the international payment system SWIFT.
- Entry bans and sanctions against all Belarusian government members.