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Russia puts Belarusian human rights defenders on wanted list

2024 2024-02-14T13:50:17+0300 2024-02-14T13:50:17+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Russian Mediazona has studied the wanted list of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. Mediazona Belarus has drew attention to this. The list includes Belarusian human rights defenders. How did they react to this news?

Who is in the Russian wanted list

Upper row: Natallia Satsunkevich, Leanid Sudalenka, Ihar Kazmerchak. Lower row: Maryia Tarasenka, Uladzimir Khilmanovich, Zmitser Salauyou

Natallia Satsunkevich, human rights defender of the Human Rights Center Viasna

"I have known for a long time about the criminal case against me. Although the Belarusian government has sent me no papers and does not inform me in any way. This is typical situation, unfortunately. In these conditions, it is impossible to exercise the right to counsel, for example.

I perceive criminal charges as a natural consequences of public human rights activities in Belarus now. I remind myself that my colleagues and friends are behind bars, and I am only wanted.

I have free advice for Russian law enforcement agencies: put the real criminals on the wanted list. Those who tortured people in Belarus in August 2020 and go on doing so. And those who commit war crimes in the war in Ukraine."

Ihar Kazmerchak, Orša human rights activist and the editor of the website

"I knew it would happen, because the investigator in my case said at the beginning that she would request to put me on the international wanted list. Now I am entering neither Belarus nor Russia."

Maryia Tarasenka, human rights defender, activist, and volunteer

"Since I left Belarus, I feel very neutral about this news. After all, this is another insanity, which is demonstrated not only by the Belarusian authorities, but also by the Russian ones. This is a combination of two dictatorships that have joined together in the persecution of active people. People who are against these dictatorships and against the war. And that's why it's convenient for them to persecute honest people together."

 Leanid Sudalenka, human rights activist and former political prisoner

"I have never had anything to do with the Russian Empire in my entire life! Or just once, when I got out of prison, I was able to travel across its borders to the EU countries due to the absence of its border with Belarus. After all, the "extremists" from the government continued to persecute me even after my release. They initiated a new criminal case 100 days after my leave because they know that when they will leave me and people like me alone, then it will be them who will have to go to prisons under extremist articles."

Human rights defender Zmitser Salauyou (sentenced in absentia to eight years in a colony), journalist and human rights defender Uladzimir Khilmanovich (who was prosecuted for "promoting extremist activities"), Viciebsk human rights defenders Pavel Levinau and Iryna Tratsiakova were also included in the Russian wanted list.

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