viasna on patreon

Statement on recognition of Vasil Paliakou as a political prisoner

2024 2024-03-04T11:24:16+0300 2024-03-04T11:24:32+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

February 29, 2024

We, the human rights community, note with deep concern that the authorities use administrative prosecutoin to suppress freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art, or through any other medium of one's choice.

Some detainees’ terms of administrative arrest are repeatedly prolonged, so their detention is comparable to criminal punishment in terms of length.

In accordance with para. 3.1 of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners, approved by the Belarusian human rights defenders at the III Human Rights Forum, a person deprived of liberty is to be regarded as a political prisoner and should be released immediately, if their detention (including administrative arrest) has been imposed solely because of their non-violent exercise of freedoms guaranteed by the international human rights law.

These criteria fully apply to all persons arrested under administrative charges for exercising their civil rights and freedoms. Accordingly, all those subjected to administrative arrests for exercising their rights and freedoms recognized by the international community are political prisoners for the period of their isolation. Separate statements on the recognition of some of them as political prisoners are designed to pay special attention to specific cases of the most severe punishment for exercising their rights and freedoms.

Thus, Vasil Paliakou served 30 days of administrative arrest in November 2023 and was detained again. Since January 23, 2024, he has been sentenced three times to 15 consecutive days of administrative arrest under Part 1 of Article 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Belarus (distribution of information products included in the republican list of extremist materials, as well as production, publication, storage, or transportation for the purpose of distributing such information) and remains imprisoned.

The practice of sentencing a person to several administrative arrests in a row has been used by the Belarusian authorities as a politically motivated pressure for quite a long time.

We, representatives of Belarusian human rights organizations, express our protest against the political persecution and arrest of Vasil Paliakou and demand:

  • reverse court rulings against the political prisoner and immediately release him;

  • stop repression against dissidents and participants in peaceful assemblies; release all those administratively arrested for exercising their civil rights and freedoms;

  • immediately release all political prisoners and stop political repression in the country.

Human Rights Center Viasna;

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House;

Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;

Belarusian Helsinki Committee;


Latest news