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Three MPs from Finland, Germany and Italy take on godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus

2024 2024-06-19T12:15:26+0300 2024-06-19T12:15:26+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

As part of solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Oras Tynkkynen (Vihreä liitto, Suomen eduskunta, Finland), Pina Picierno (Partito Democratico, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, European Parliament, Italy) and Sandra Bubendorfer-Licht (Freie Demokratische Partei, German Bundestag) have taken on a godparenthood for Alesia Liantsevich, Katsiaryna Kalybenka and Anastasiya Lazarenka.

Oras Tynkkynen

Alesia Liantsevich is a psychotherapist. She was arrested on 25 May 2023 for comments she made online, including calling Lukashenko a psychopath. She also donated to solidarity funds that were later classified as extremists. The court sentenced Alesia to 3 years in prison for “Insulting the President” (Art.368) and “Financing extremist activities” (Art. 361-2). It is believed that Alesia suffers from a serious illness and is at high risk as a result of the prison sentence.

Oras Tynkkynen is a Member of the Finnish Parliament for the party Vihreä liitto (Green League). He takes on the godparenthood for Alesia Liantsevich and explains: “Sadly Alesia is not alone. The illegitimate authoritarian rule of Alexander Lukashenko has put thousands of Belarusian people behind bars for standing up for their rights. But luckily Alesia is not alone. We stand by her side. And we will not stop until she and all other prisoners of conscience in Belarus are free. It is a great honour for me to adopt Alesia as a political prisoner. It is my duty as a Member of Parliament to fight for universal human rights everywhere and for everyone. Putin’s Russia uses Belarus as a tool in the cruel and unjustified war of aggression in Ukraine. Lukashenko’s tyranny needs to come to an end.”

Pina Picierno

Katsiaryna Kalybenka was arrested on 10 January 2023 for commenting about a state official online. Katsiaryna must serve 3.5 years in prison for allegedly “Violence or threat against an official” (Art. 366) and “Insulting a government official” (Art. 369).

Pina Picierno is Vice-President of the European Parliament and Italian member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats for Partito Democratico. She supports Katsiaryna Kalybenka with her godparenthood and declares: “I decided to “adopt” Katsiaryna Kalybenka, who was convicted under Articles 369 and 364 of the Criminal Code for a commentary towards an internal bodies officer posted on the Internet. She was sentenced to three years and six months of restricted freedom with a referral to an open-type penal facility. The Belarusian regime of Lukashenko daily represses political opposition, journalists and media, committing human rights abuses. The regime must be held accountable for its crimes against Belarusians and its support for Russia’s war against Ukraine. I stand by you and your right to be free. Europe stands by these brave political prisoners!”

Sandra Bubendorfer-Licht

Anastasiya Lazarenka was a lawyer who campaigned for political prisoners and cared for her elderly father and chronically ill son. On 2 June 2022, security forces forced their way into her home and arrested her. The prosecution charged her with allegedly sharing personal details of law enforcement officials in a chat and taking part in a protest march. The judge sentenced Anastasiya to 6 years imprisonment for “Violation of public order” (Art. 342), “Incitement to hatred” (Art. 130), and “Illegal acts in relation to personal data” (Article 203-1).

Sandra Bubendorfer-Licht is a Member of the German Bundestag for the Freie Demokratische Partei. She is taking on her second godparenthood and stands in solidarity with Anastasiya Lazarenka with the following words: “Anastasiya Lazarenka is paying a high price for her desire for freedom. The lawyer was accused of organising actions that seriously violated public order – for providing free legal aid to relatives of political prisoners. Anastasiya was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. This is an unimaginable injustice! She must be released immediately! I have the greatest respect and admiration for the people of Belarus, whose courage for freedom is greater than their fear of the regime and its thugs. Many risk their economic existence, health and lives for a self-determined future. Germany and Europe stand by the democratic movement in Belarus. Жыве Беларусь!”

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