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Statement on the recognition of Ales Sabaleuski as a political prisoner

2024 2024-01-19T11:31:58+0300 2024-01-19T11:31:58+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Joint statement by the Belarusian human rights community

On December 12, 2023, blogger and journalist Ales Sabaleuski was detained in Mahilioŭ. The next day, the Kastryčnicki District Court of Mahilioŭ sentenced Ales to 10 days of administrative arrest. The reason for his detention and the article which he was tried under are unknown.

After serving his term, Sabaleuski was not released from the detention center, as a new administrative report was drawn up against him under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code (dissemination of extremist materials). Subsequently, it became known that Ales was transferred to the pre-trial detention center of Mahilioŭ prison No. 4 and a criminal case was opened against him.

According to human rights activists, the criminal prosecution of Ales Sabaleuski may be related to the recognition of regional media resources as extremist formations: a YouTube channel 6TV Belarus, a website Mahilioŭ. Media (News of the Mahilioŭ region).

Ales Sabaleuski is a former Mahilioŭ blogger and journalist who collaborated with a number of independent regional publications. In 2020, Ales was repeatedly detained for his journalistic activities.

We, the undersigned organizations, consider all these actions in relation to Ales Sabaleuski as a continuation of the targeted policy of the authorities to limit the dissemination of uncensored information in the country and a continuation of the attack on freedom of speech. After the 2020 presidential election, dozens of NGO and media websites have been blocked in Belarus, a number of printed media has been closed, journalists and employees of the Belarusian media sector have been imprisoned.

Given the circumstances, we believe that criminal prosecution of Ales Sabaleuski is politically motivated and aimed at stopping or changing the nature of his legitimate public activities in the sphere of non-violent exercise of freedom of expression and dissemination of information.

Based on this and guided by para. 2.1 and 3.1 of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners adopted at III Belarusian Human Rights Forum, we, human rights defenders, recognize Ales Sabaleuski as political prisoner and call on the Belarusian authorities to:

  • immediately release Ales Sabaleuski and drop criminal charges against him;

  • refrain from using criminal prosecution as an instrument of pressure on freedom of expression, or other rights and freedoms;

  • immediately release all political prisoners and stop political repression.

Human Rights Center Viasna;

Belarusian Association of Journalists;

Human Constanta;

Legal initiative;

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House;

PEN Belarus;

Belarusian Helsinki Committee;


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