Eighteen people added to the political prisoner list
Joint statement by the Belarusian human rights community
November 30, 2022
In response to the indictment, pre-trial detention and sentencing for ‘group actions grossly violating public order’
- under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Mr. Aliaksei Kireyeu, Mr. Yuryi Khrystaliubau, Mr. Andrei Famin, Ms. Maryia Yashchanka, Mr. Bahdan Karavets, Mr. Viktar Zihinau, Mr. Dzianis Sidarok, Mr. Raman Tsyhankou, Mr. Kiryl Kazlou, Mr. Aliaksandr Kulbachka, Mr. Dzmitryi Karakin, Mr. Uladzimir Karakin, Mr. David Antashvili, Mr. Aliaksandr Parkhomenka, Mr. Yauhen Hurynau, and Mr. Ihar Bialash,
- under Part 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Mr. Siarhei Makarevich,
- under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code and for ‘insulting the president’ under Part 1 of Article 342 of Ms. Yauheniya Staravoitava,
we reiterate the position set out in the joint statement of the human rights community of August 10, 2020, and want to note the following:
Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly. This freedom is not subject to any restrictions other than those established by law and necessary in a democratic society for the purposes of national and public security, public order, public health, and morals, or the protection of the rights, and freedoms of others.
The post-election protests were spontaneous and self-organized. They were caused by distrust of the results of the August 9, 2020, presidential election, which was marred by numerous violations and fraud and was not recognized by the international community as democratic, fair, and free.
Citizens assembled peacefully and posed no threat to national or public security. However, the demonstrators were attacked by special units of the Interior Ministry with disproportionate use of physical force, special equipment, and weapons.
For the first time in the history of Belarus, rubber bullets and water cannons were used against peaceful demonstrators. A considerable amount of damage was inflicted by the use of stun grenades.
In our statement of August 10, 2020, the Belarusian human rights community condemned the actions of law enforcement agencies and placed all responsibility for what happened on August 9 and 10 on the authorities of Belarus.
We assess the persecution of the above-mentioned individuals as politically motivated, as it is related solely to their exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in the post-election period and recognize them as political prisoners.
We demand that the Belarusian authorities:
- Immediately release from custody Mr. Aliaksei Kireyeu, Mr. Yuryi Khrystaliubau, Mr. Andrei Famin, Ms. Maryia Yashchanka, Mr. Bahdan Karavets, Mr. Viktar Zihinau, Mr. Dzianis Sidarok, Mr. Raman Tsyhankou, Mr. Kiryl Kazlou, Mr. Aliaksandr Kulbachka, Mr. Dzmitryi Karakin, Mr. Uladzimir Karakin, Mr. David Antashvili, Mr. Aliaksandr Parkhomenka, Mr. Siarhei Makarevich, Ms. Yauheniya Staravoitava, Mr. Yauhen Hurynau, and Mr. Ihar Bialash and stop their criminal prosecution.
- Immediately release all political prisoners, and other individuals detained in connection with their exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly in the post-election period, and stop political repression in the country.
Human Rights Center Viasna
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House