#WeStandBYyou: Andrei Skurko, Aliaksandr Viniarski, and Uladzimir Kniha got their symbolic godparents
As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Felix Banaszak (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), Katja Adler (German Bundestag, Free Democratic Party), and Sebastian Schäfer (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Andrei Skurko is head of the advertising and marketing department at the newspaper Nasha Niva and author of the magazine Nasha Historyia. He was arrested on 8 July 2021 and charged with alleged “damage to property without signs of theft” (Criminal Code, Art. 216).
Felix Banaszakis a member of the German Bundestag and the Economic Affairs Committee. He has taken on the godparenthood of Skurko and states: “I am very concerned about the situation in Belarus. We will continue to stand behind the courageous Belarusians who are fighting tirelessly for democracy and the rule of law. I express my full solidarity with them. They resolutely oppose the arbitrariness, systematic violence and inhumane prison conditions and torture of Lukashenko’s regime. I also call for the immediate and unconditional release of the hundreds of political prisoners illegally detained for standing up for their right to freedom of opinion, press and speech. As part of the #WeStandBYyou campaign, I stand alongside Andrei Skurko and many other Belarusians who are fighting together in an unprecedented way for the future of their country.A future for democracy and freedom, for free and fair elections, for transparency and against corruption.”
Aliaksandr Viniarski was imprisoned on 21 March 2021, when he was still a minor. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in a juvenile penal colony for allegedly “participating in mass riots” (Penal Code, Art. 293).
Katja Adler, a member of the German Bundestag and the Family Committee, has taken on the godparenthood of Viniarski. She demands: “Freedom and human rights are non-negotiable! For months, people in Belarus have been demonstrating for their rights and against arbitrary state power. Aliaksandr Viniarski was arrested at the age of 17 for demanding his rights. Together with hundreds of other hundreds of people he is now in prison. Aliaksandr and all political prisoners must be released immediately. It is part of every person’s right to self-determination to live in peace and freedom, including in Belarus.”
Uladzimir Kniha was a volunteer for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s election campaign. He has been in detention since 4 June 2020. On 2 June 2021 he was sentenced to four years imprisonment for “organising activities that grossly violate public order” (Criminal Code, Art. 342) and “violence or threat of violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies” (Art. 364).
Sebastian Schaefer is a member of the German Bundestag. He has taken on the godparenthood of Uladzimir Kniha and declares: “The Belarusian regime under dictator Lukashenko has only been able to hold on to power with terror, violence and repression since the election in the summer of 2020 and has feared its own population ever since. Despite the brutality and harshness with which dictator Lukashenko acted against the peaceful protest movement, hundreds of thousands of courageous Belarusian citizens demonstrated against the Lukashenko regime and for freedom, the rule of law and democracy. So did Uladzimir Kniha, a former policeman and volunteer for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s election campaign. He was arrested on 4 June 2020, before the 2020 elections, and Uladzimir was sentenced to four years in a high-security prison camp on 2 June 2021.It is with the deepest conviction that I take on the political godparenthood of Uladzimir Kniha and demand his immediate release as well as the release of all other political prisoners.”