Freedom for Belarusian Political Prisoners
Human Rights House Foundation calls on the Belarusian authorities to end to all human rights violations and to release all political prisoners. We stand in solidarity with Belarusian civil society. [Updated 9 August 2021]
Political prisoners in Belarus
Bloggers, businessmen, presidential campaign members and peaceful protesters are held in prisons only because they were not afraid to exercise their rights – the right to participate in peaceful assemblies, to express their opinion and to be involved in political activities.
Viasna – full list of political prsioners & more here.
Since the 9 August 2020 presidential election in Belarus, tens of thousands of people who have taken to the streets in peaceful protests have been met with mass repression by the Belarusian authorities.
Human Rights House Foundation considers a political prisoner to be any person deprived of liberty for political motives or in violation their human rights, in particular the rights to freedoms of expression, assembly, association and the right to be a human rights defender. This definition is, in part, inspired by the criteria outlined by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Read their stories
Human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, the political opposition and more are among the hundreds of people behind bars in Belarus today. Read some of the stories below. For the full list of political prisoners, please click here.
Freedom for Andrei Aliaksandrau
Andrei Aliaksandrau is a journalist and media manager. He was detained by officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on January 12, 2021. Together with him, his partner Iryna Zlobina was arrested.
On January 15 2021, in an official statement, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Henadz Kazakevich said that Aliaksandrau and Zlobina had been detained “on suspicion of financing protest activities”. According to the official, since August 2020, Aliaksandrau and Zlobina had been “financing persons who took part in the protests in Minsk, including by paying fines and reimbursing the costs of imprisonment in the detention facilities of Minsk.”
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Aliaksandrau paid 250 fines between August 22 and November 9, 2020. The lists of beneficiaries and the funds to pay the fines were transferred to Aliaksandrau by the BY_help foundation.
On January 22 2021, his lawyer said that Aliaksandrau was officially charged and would remain in detention.
On June 30 2021, Aliaksandrau faced new charges under Part 1 of Art. 356 of the Criminal Code (high treason).
Freedom for Ales Bialiatski
Ales Bialiatski is the chairman of Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).
Ales has been a political prisoner before. On 4 August 2011, he was arrested after Lithuania and Poland had passed data on bank accounts on their territory to the Belarusian authorities. Bialiatski was accused of serious concealment of proceeds. On 24 November 2011, he was convicted by the Pieršamajski District Court of Minsk to 4.5 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property. He pleaded not guilty, stating that all the money from the accounts was used for human rights activities. Countries of the European Union, the U.S. and international human rights organizations recognized him as a political prisoner and his sentence as politically motivated. He was released on a general pardon on 21 June 2014.
Ales Bialiatski was detained on 14 July 2021 as a part of a massive coordinated raid on civil society conducted by the Belarusian authorities.
Freedom for Andrei Chapiuk
Andrei Chapiuk is a volunteer at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).
On October 2, Andrei Chapiuk, a volunteer working with Viasna was detained in Minsk and his apartment was searched by law enforcement. On October 9, Andrei was charged with participation in riots and taken to a pre-trial detention centre in Minsk. His persecution is due to his human rights activities.
Freedom for Uladzimir Labkovich
Uladzimir Labkovich is a lawyer at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).
Uladzimir Labkovich was detained on 14 July 2021 as a part of a massive coordinated raid on civil society conducted by the Belarusian authorities.
Freedom for Tatsiana Lasitsa
Tatsiana Lasitsa is a volunteer of Viasna’s office in Homieĺ (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).
Tatsiana Lasitsa was detained on January 21 at the Minsk airport by officers of the Interior Ministry. She is a suspect in a criminal case under Part 1 and Part 2 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organisation or active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order). She was remanded in custody pending indictment.
Freedom for Valiantsin Stefanovich
Valiantsin Stefanovich is a member of the board at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House), vice-president of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
Valiantsin Stefanovich was detained on 14 July 2021 as a part of a massive coordinated raid on civil society conducted by the Belarusian authorities.
Freedom for Marfa Rabkova
Marfa Rabkova is a volunteer at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).
On 17 September 2020, Rabkova was detained in Minsk and charged with “criminal pursuit”. Her prosecution is politically motivated and linked to her human rights activities. On 20 June 2021, Marfa Rabkova’s detention was extended for a further three months. She faces up to 12 years in prison.
Freedom for Leanid Sudalenka
Leanid Sudalenka the head of Viasna’s office in Homieĺ (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).
On January 5, the civil and political community centre where Viasna’s office is located was raided by the police. On January 18, police detained Leanid Sudalenka. He is currently a suspect in a criminal case under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organisation or active participation in group actions which gravely breach public order) and has been remanded in a detention centre. On the same evening, Sudalenka’s assistant and Viasna’s volunteer Maryia Tarasenka was detained and her house was also searched. Tarasenka was later released on 21 January.
Postcards for political prisoners
Viasna is keeping a comprehensive and regularly updated list of political prisoners as well as their mailing addresses. Show your support by sending letters of solidarity!
Show your support online and offline
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We Stand With Belarus
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