Three Members of Parliament from Poland, Germany and Norway take on a godparenthood for Anastasiya Hancharevich, Viktoryia Kulsha and Tamara Karavai
As part of our #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign, Janina Ochojska (European Parliament, Christian Democrats), Konstantin von Notz (Bundestag, Germany, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and Rasmus Hansson (Storting, Norway, Miljøpartiet De Grønne) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Anastasiya Hancharevich, a mother of three, was arrested on her way to work on 1 February 2022. The charges against Anastasiya included alleged violations of Article 342 (“Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order”), Art. 386 (“Insulting the President”) and Art. 361-1 (“Promoting extremist activities”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code. The judge ultimately sentenced her to 4.5 years’ imprisonment.
Janina Ochojska is a Polish Member of the European Parliament (Group of the European People’s Party Democrats) and founder of the Polish Humanitarian Organisation (PAH). Through her godparenthood, she supports Anastasiya Hancharevich and explains: “To you and your family and friends who share the same unjustified and undeserved imprisonment: You are not alone. With you and by you stands the entire democratic world. Dictatorships fall, freedom and independence wins. I am convinced this will be the case of Belarus.”
Tamara Karavai was arrested on 5 January 2023 on the pretext of “Slander against the President” under Art. 367. Despite having a minor child as a dependent, Tamara must serve a two-year prison sentence.
Konstantin von Notz is the deputy chairperson of Alliance ’90/The Greens in the German Bundestag. He has now taken on his third godparenthood, this time for Tamara Karavai. He comments his support as follows: “Tamara Karavai, whose godparenthood I have been allowed to take over, has been sentenced to two years in prison. The charge: defamation of President Lukashenko. Despite massive intimidation, Tamara has publicly criticised the country’s leadership. My godparenthood is an expression of solidarity not only with Tamara Karavai, but with all citizens who fight every day for respect for human rights and the rule of law in Belarus. I call for the rule of law and the release of Tamara Karavai and all other unjustly imprisoned people in Belarus. The Belarusian Government must immediately stop the violence, repression and arbitrary arrests, guarantee fair and free elections and finally ensure democracy and the rule of law.”
Viktoryia Kulsha worked as an industrial safety engineer before her arrest on 4 November 2020. For her role as an administrator of an opposition Telegram channel, she was sentenced to 2.5 years’ imprisonment under Art. 342 (“Organization and preparation of actions grossly violating public order”). During her imprisonment, she received two further sentences under Art. 411 – allegedly for ‘malicious disobedience to the demands of administration of the correctional institution’. Viktoryia now faces a total of 4.5 years in prison.
Rasmus Hansson is the deputy leader of the parliamentary group for the Environmental Party The Greens in the Norwegian Parliament. About his godparenthood for Viktoryia Kulsha he makes the following statement: ”I express my deepest support to all brave Belarusians who fight for democracy and freedom every single day. We cannot be passive about such a development, where innocent people who express their opinion are treated as criminals and punished with inhumane treatment. If we do that, this will never stop. In Norway we enjoy more freedom and more democracy than anywhere else, and that’s why we have the greatest responsibility to ensure that other people also share in that freedom and that democracy. Therefore, I will do what I can to ensure that the government here at home also stands up to Lukashenko’s regime. As part of the #WeStandBYyou campaign, I give my full support to Viktoryia Kulsha who is one of the victims of oppression by a regime that has sentenced her to prison in degrading conditions, without any fair trial.”