MPs from Poland and Germany take over prisoners’ godparenthood for Andrei Novikau, Uladzimir Tsyhanovich and Dzmitry Kazlou
As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Tomasz Frankowski (European Parliament, Poland), Franziska Brantner (German Bundestag) and Niklas Nienaß (European Parliament, Germany) have taken over godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Andrei Novikau is a Russian citizen and an election campaigner for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. He was arrested on 6 June because he took in an election meeting in Grodno on 29 May. He has been charged under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“organising or preparing acts which seriously violate public order”).
Tomasz Frankowski, member of the European Parliament’s Belarus delegation, on the occasion of taking over his prisoner’s godparenthood for Andrei Novikau, said: “With the last resolution adopted by a large majority in the European Parliament on the situation in Belarus, we send a strong political signal to the people in Belarus that we stand by them. We are also calling for the immediate and unconditional release and dropping of all charges against all detained for political reasons, before and after the so-called 9 August elections, including all persons detained for their participation in protests against the election results or against the violence used by the authorities or for their expressions of support to these protests.”
Uladzimir Tsyhanovich is a blogger and author of the MozgON YouTube channel. He was arrested on 9 June and is a suspect in the case of Siarhei Tsikhanouski.
Franziska Brantner, spokeswoman for European policy of the Bündnis90/Die Grünen parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, has taken over the prisoner’s godparenthood for Uladzimir Tsyhanovich and declared: “For weeks the people of Belarus have been fighting for their rights, for democracy and against one of the last dictatorships in Europe. In doing so they risk being persecuted, arrested and kidnapped. Just like the blogger Uladzimir Tsyhanovich, who has been imprisoned since 9 June 2020 and for whom I took on this symbolic godparenthood out of solidarity for all people who are peacefully protesting for their freedom in Belarus. I call on the authorities in Belarus to release him and all other political prisoners immediately, unconditionally and unharmed, to respect human rights and to hold fair and free elections”.
Dzmitry Kazlou is a blogger who runs the YouTube channel “Seryi Kot”. He was arrested on 10 June together with several activists from the group European Belarus. He was originally due to be released on 30 June after serving his 20-day prison sentence. However, he has continued to be detained and charged under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“organising or preparing acts which seriously violate public order”).
Niklas Nienaß, Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, said on the occasion of his prisoner’s godparenthood for Dzmitry Kazlou: “Political imprisonment is no novum in Belarus. Dzmitry Kazlou has been detained multiple times even before the election fraud and mass protests of the past weeks – simply for sharing his opinions on YouTube. In June he was arrested again and hasn’t been released yet. We must not allow dictators and regimes to suppress the freedom of expression in any way. We must not allow them to silence critical voices. We must not allow their terror to make us afraid. To Dzmitry and all Belarusians: keep your heads up, stay strong and continue the struggle.
Since the launch of the #WeStandBYyou campaign, MPs of European parliaments have taken over a godparenthood for twenty-two political prisoners in Belarus and are working for their release.