Front Line Defenders urges Belarus to quash convictions against Fiadynich and Komlik
The authorities in Belarus should immediately quash the convictions against Henadz Fiadynich and Ihar Komlik, leaders of the trade union REP, and fully restore their liberty, Front Line Defenders said in an urgent appeal, as it believes that they are solely in relation to their peaceful and legitimate work in the defense of human rights.
Fiadynich and Komlik were found guilty of tax evasion. They were sentenced to 4 years of restriction of liberty without imprisonment, as well as a fine of 47,000 Belarusian rubles (approximately €20,000). They will also be unable to hold managerial positions for 5 years after the completion of the sentence term.
The trial started on July 30 and was completed on August 24. Front Line Defenders stresses that the evidence used by the prosecution has not been revealed and raises serious concerns on the case.
“The use of Article 243.2 to discredit human rights organisations is a tactic that has already been used by Belarusian authorities to prosecute the Chairman of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, Ales Bialiatski, who spent three years in prison between 2011 and 2014. Legislation abusively restricting the operation of civil society organisations remains in force to date, forcing many organisations to register abroad,” Front Line Defenders said.